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(140 min DVD, Metal Mind Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Honey Nut Loops 2. Motorville 3. The Big Red Spark 4. Build Your Own Enemy 5. Pagodas 6. Wide Awake at Midnight 7. Eat the Ashes 8. The Sarcasm Never Stops 9. Ride 10. Driving All Night 11. Too High for Low Company 12. Cinnamon 13. Fly like a Bird 14. Nine Months on Fire 15. All Hands Lost-1 16. Tinyfish 17. All Hands Lost-2 Plus: Five Lives of Fire Documentary Interview with Robert Ramsay and Simon Godfrey LINEUP: Simon Godfrey – vocals; guitars Jim Sanders – guitars; b/v Leon Camfield – drums Paul Worwood – bass With: Rob Ramsay – spoken words
Prolusion. The British outfit TINYFISH was formed in 2004, when Simon Godfrey had a desire to take his musical endeavors from a mainly acoustic based platform over to a more sophisticated progressive rock expression. In 2006 the band members' self-titled debut album appeared, and in 2008 they started working on their sophomore production. However, in 2009 the band was given the opportunity to record and release a live album and DVD, courtesy of Metal Mind Prods. And when opportunity knocked, the band decided to answer.
Analysis. The Polish label Metal Mind has to be given credit for its highly active role when it comes to giving many lesser known artists a chance to record and release live DVDs. Tinyfish is a band with only one full-length effort to its name, with a second release consisting of various unreleased rarities issued in 2009 – the same day that the band recorded their concert in Poland. Few artists get the chance to document their history this early in their career, and even fewer with the high quality that is a trademark of most anything issued by Metal Mind Records. Tinyfish has used the opportunity well, and in addition to a concert where they were able to perform just about everything they had composed until then, they also assembled a documentary movie outlining their history from its start in 2004 right up to this concert. The live event is the most important part of this production though, and as customary with these concerts recorded at the Slaski Theater in Katowice the technical parts of the outing leave little to be desired. The images are detailed and as crystal clear as you can get them without having a multi-million budget in the equipment department. The colors are clean and distinct; you'll have to look hard to find any instances of too much or too little saturation, and motion blur is something I have yet to encounter on a DVD produced by Metal Mind. The camera crew is experienced, and a nice array of different shots from various angles adds the necessary diversity to keep matters interesting: brilliantly assembled, without any flaws as far as I could notice. Much the same can be said about the sound and mix of the audio parts of the DVD: very well produced, a good balanced mix and a sound so crystal clear that if these tracks had been issued as a solo album the audience noises would be the only blatant giveaway. The latter obviously indicates that the performance by Tinyfish is impeccable on this occasion. All of the band members are capable musicians - apart from Robert Ramsay whose role in the band first and foremost is to deliver spoken word passages – and on this occasion they appear to have been in impeccable form: perhaps a bit too perfect to be honest. As far as live performances go, this one may be just a bit too clinical, not quite managing to provide the added verve that a live performance often will add to a band's compositions. The latter might also be a case of stage presence though. The musicians are devoted to their craft and appear to be rather introverted on stage. Those who revel in watching band dynamics and interaction with the crowd might find this DVD to be less interesting. On the other hand, those fascinated by watching perfectionists playing live will most likely find this performance intriguing to behold. Combining these two rather different facets is drummer Leon Camfield though, who comes across as a hyperactive presence who truly enjoys playing live. Simon Godfrey is a capable frontman and fulfills that role with ease. And while bassist Worwood and guitarist Sanders appear to be more introverted, their stage presence is assured and confident. As for the style of music served, Tinyfish blends influences from Neo Progressive with mainstream rock and a harder-edged form of art rock. XTC is named as an influence by Simon Godfrey on the DVD, and those familiar with Rush will detect a passing nod or two in that direction from guitarist Sanders during the concert.
Conclusion. As with most previous live concerts issued by Metal Mind on DVD over the years, this one joins the ranks of those which can safely be recommended to fans of the artists in question. It is a good introduction to the band as well, especially since this outing basically covers everything they have ever written. A few minor details in total add up to a rating less than perfect, as described above, but all in all this is a recommended production and highly so for anyone already a fan of this English band.
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