Renaissance and Curved Air at the Forum in London live review
Venue: The Forum, London
Two prog greats team up for one very special London show.
The Forum is extremely sparsely populated for this art-folk double-header, but Sonja Kristina isn’t holding back. With flaming locks of auburn hair and ivory skin, the Curved Air siren looks every inch the prog goddess, prowling the stage with all the theatrical extravagance of a skilled mime navigating her way through imaginary reeds.
Making her entrance after the opening instrumental Spider (from 2014’s comeback album North Star), she’s very much the centre of attention, although the fragility of songs like Melinda (More Or Less) tends to expose the frailty of her voice, which also seems to struggle to keep up with the more upbeat Purple Speed Queen. As it is, the highlights come from less expected quarters: Kirby Gregory’s wah-wah driven guitar solo on Interplay is a soaring, spectacular success, and it all comes together at the end on Back Street Luv’s greasy, sinister riff. Sonja’s enthusiasm is infectious throughout, however, and within two minutes of the set’s climax she’s at the back of the hall manning the merchandise stall, hustling CDs. And signing torsos, possibly.