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It was a beautiful blast from the past on Saturday night at St Peter’s by the Waterfront in Ipswich, as I watched Crisium, whose music sent my head back to Emerson, Lake and Palmer, and Genesis in the ’70s, but also created a feeling of wellbeing for the future and a glimpse of a life I may have missed.
Crisium means ‘crisis’ in Latin, but there was no crisis at a relaxed show where the six-piece band – in their first gig for six years – performed Letters From The Voyage, a family friendly show blending together music from a vast range of genres.
The band is known for its huge ambient soundscapes with rock and classical influences, mathematical structures, soaring guitar lines and angelic vocals. The vocals of Wendy Evans certainly give the night a truly unique sound as they soar along with the twin guitars.
The band is fronted by David Goodman on synths and organ. David is the composer and arranger for Crisium. He learned sound synthesis from Dr Robert Moog, the original synthesiser man. Up there beside him is Lora Dimitrova on piano and synths. Lora is one of the finest classical pianists in Europe and has recently held master classes in Vienna. She is head of keyboard at Bromley Youth Music Trust in London.
On guitars we have Dave Hersey, an original member of Crisium, and Simon Kemp who was asked to join the band because he impressed with his great attention to detail while playing. On drums and percussion is Tony Scullion, a recent member of the band who lives in Kent.
Putting forward the vocals is Wendy Evans, now a fellow of Newnham College, Cambridge. She has an angelic singing voice but can also bring power and emotional strength to her vocals when the occasion demands it. Her vocals on the band’s cover of Cyndi Lauper’s True Colours, a beautiful song dropped into the centre of Letters From The Voyage were out of this world.
I did say there were six members of the band, but there is also Steve Evans who does the sound, lights and film.
David says: “The type of music is not foot on the floor rock and roll. It is a large synthesiser soundscape with guitars. Classical people tend to think of it as rock. Rock people tend to think it’s advertising more the type of thing you’d sit down to.”
The band is on a sharp learning curve as they pick up on the vibes from the audience. David says: “We got enthusiastic applause and some whoops for the synth rock pieces rather than the more polite applause for the unknown music. We learn!”
The band played at St Peters six years earlier: “We are relaunching it and we shall build it. It is quite a technical show and I am happy with how things are going.”
Crisium return to St Peter’s by the Waterfront on May 4, when they will be performing The Planets Reimagined. David says that their Planets show starts with the ELP hit Fanfare for the Common Man as a launchpad for their version of Holst’s composition.“We have carefully preserved the feeling and mood of the original orchestral scores while performing the entire Planet Suite in a new way,” he said.
Crisium’s version is full of excitement and interest the whole way through. The concert starts with a countdown to rocket launch simulation and continues with some well loved space-themed music leading towards the Planets.
Crisium will be at St Peter’s by the Waterfront in Ipswich again on May 4th at 8pm, performing The Planets Reimagined.