Putting away the pre-conceived misgivings about cover bands and approaching such gigs with an open mind is always a good idea. Going into such events with an analytical appraisal of the fine technical details and hypercritical observations that the synth sound wasn’t quite grand enough on Close To The Edge isn’t a good starting point.
This was the 3rd time i’d seen SEYES. The other two times being 4 or 5 years ago when they did the complete Tales From Topographic Oceans at the Birkenhead Arts Centre and also when they played the Electric Garden Festival in Blackpool. Both of those gigs were great but i left on both occasions thinking that they hadn’t really achieved the levels they could and should have,
Fast forward to 2015 and a new line up with the exception of Pete Greenwood (Bass) and Chris Bradshaw (Keyboards) and what a difference! A stunning setlist (below) took inspiration from the Yessongs triple album. I was blown away by the new guitarist David Crilly and early outings for Siberian Khatru and Heart Of The Sunrise were met with a warm (dare I say ecstatic) reception from the sizeable Continental crowd.
The challenge of putting on such a show in a small venue shouldn’t be underestimated. As you can see from the bass setup below, the technical scope of recreating the Yes sound is one thing before you even contemplate the high levels of musicianship required.
New vocalist Edward Kellar brings a cheerful and humble persona to the band and the stage dynamic is both engaging and entertaining in an understated way. In short they let the music do the talking and pull it off with aplomb. I would love to see them in a bigger hall now that the sound has become tighter. The booming bass notes that were the trademark of Chris Squire, and the majestic almost bone shaking organ sounds that Wakeman produced, could be done justice by SEYES with a bigger venue and sound system.
And You And I and Close to The Edge are two obvious candidates for the enhanced sound system but were still highly enjoyable as it was. I particularly enjoyed Heart Of The Sunrise, Perpetual Change and the rousing finale that was Starship Trooper and Roundabout.
SEYES have improved to the point were they are a ‘must see’ for progressive rock fans. Staging shows must be a thankless task financially so they really do deserve your support.
Photo credit: Mark Nicholson