Frost* at the Islington Assembly Hall in London
After 3 years of being out of the touring game, and 5 years since they last toured around the UK, Frost* are back for a short run shows off the back of their 2021 studio release ‘Day And Age’. The band were wildly popular in the scene in the 2000s with albums like ‘Milliontown’ and ‘Experiments in Mass Appeal’ bringing them to the forefront of people’s ears.
Tonight we were bundled into the packed-out Islington Assembly Hall, starting off with the opening band Quantum Pig.
Now this band ran through every prog-related trope in the book, which definitely got a rise of this hyper-specific audience. Joke after joke referencing how incestuous and homogeneous the prog genre can sometimes be, particularly when it comes to songwriting. At one point I’d entirely forgotten I was at a music show and thought I was at a standup comedy gig, that was until the band picked their instruments back up and played some stripped-back versions of songs from their discography.
They had very humorous and good personalities, and I’d be interested to see a full-stage show from them at some point in the future. However the two musicians cleared the stage after their short set, and it was then time to get a little cooler.
Frost* opened their set with the single ‘Day and Age’ running it straight into ‘Terrestrial’ as it does on the studio album which was in my opinion, a fantastic choice of tracks to open with. Their latest album has really rubbed off on me in a good way since it was released in May 2021 – and I’m so glad to see them taking so much of the material from it to the live stage.
I also have to address that Craig Blundell is back as a full-time member of the band after a leave of absence starting in late 2019 when he decided to pursue other bits of session and live work – playing with the likes of Steven Wilson and Steve Hackett. Tonight he was an absolute machine behind the kit, so much so that his high hat had to be repaired in the middle of the set. I’ve seen Craig a number of times in recent years away from Frost*, and it was very satisfying to see him back in his natural habitat playing material that he’s actually contributed to the writing of. Namely the ‘Falling Satellites’ release. The whole night he was showing off his technical ability blending together different genres and styles whilst still respecting the music going on around him.
Frost* continued through their set playing many fan favorites such as ‘Black Light Machine’, ‘Dear Dead Days’, and ‘Hyperventilate’. But to the core of this 10-song set, they stuck to the latest album playing well over half of it.
Jem actually took the time to sell the audience a tiny bit about the writing process behind the album, and I do mean a tiny bit as he noted that they were tight for time that evening. Apparently, it can be summarised as “Cornwall”, “eggs”, “some of them were shit”. How’s that for a prog concept album?
Finishing the main set by playing the title track from ‘Milliontown’, the band held back no punches navigating their way through this 26-minute epic for the audience. “It was the last one, but a long one.”
But then obviously, not quite the last one because they came back for some bonus encore content. ‘Heartstrings’, followed by the final track of the evening, ‘Repeat to Fade’ – which I thought was a bold move finishing with a new album track that possibly less fans are familiar with, but actually fitted the mood incredibly well to close off this tour. And hey, the album came out over 18 months ago now, so everyone’s had enough time to get their teeth into an additional Frost* album finalé.
Overall, I had a smashing time checking out this well-respected band play live for my own personal first time – and I do hope that there’s more material on the way with more live shows in their future. Their consistent high levels of production both live and in the studio bode for a bright continuation of an already impressive career for these artists.