Arena, Touchstone, The Reasoning, Lost in Vegas, Heather Findlay, Magenta, Matt Stevens and Alan Reed.
The Assembly Rooms Leamington Spa 18th May 2014.
The idea for Trinity Live came about when Magenta singer Christina Booth was diagnosed with breast cancer. Fellow Prog Rock artists and friends worked together to put on a day of quality prog rock music with all monies and profits being donated to the charities Cancer Research UK, Brain Tumour Research and Breakthrough Breast Cancer. So, on the 18th May 2014, The Assembly Rooms in Leamington Spa was taken over to raise money and enjoy a day of the very best of what progressive music can offer. On one of the hottest days of the year so far, we chose to spend it indoors sweating it out for charity. With eight acts on the bill, a long but enjoyable afternoon and evening lay ahead. Opening the event was a lovely atmospheric acoustic set from Alan Reed (ex Pallas, solo artist) closely followed by the amazing talents of Matt Stevens (Fierce & The Dead, solo artist). Using a succession of fused recorded loopback’s, Matt delivered a great set of passionate solo instrumental acoustic guitar tracks.
Traffic delays forced a quick change in the running order, with Magenta next on stage. A good crowd had steadily built up by now and were ready for the first full band set of the day. Magenta, with core members Christina Booth (Vocals), Rob Reed (Keyboards, guitars) and Chris Fry (Guitars), have been a well respected part of the progressive rock scene since 2001. Nearly an hour long set saw Rob Reed holding the band together from his keyboards to the right of the stage, while Christina provided delightful vocals for audience attention, accompanied with extended and intense instrumental’s filling the set. A truly poignant and moving moment came when Allan Reed accompanied Christina in a cover of Peter Gabriel’s ‘Don’t Give Up’. Following this great set from Magenta, a break was called for with a quick trip for me to the bar for a cool lager shandy and a packet of crisps.
Heather Findlay was on next, literally going straight from car to stage, but the delayed start was worth the wait. The former Mostly Autumn lead vocalist, Heather Findlay was accompanied by the equally talented musician and singer-song writer Chris Johnson on acoustic guitar and ran through an exquisite set full of dynamic and beautiful songs drawn from both her solo and Mostly Autumn backgrounds.
A heavier band set followed Heather Findlay’s delicate vocal set. More rock than prog, Lost in Vegas certainly raised the noise bar with killer guitar work and hard rock numbers full of great catchy hooks. I was both excited and disappointed at seeing these guys for the first time. Excited because it’s not very often a band grabs you and shakes you from the inside out the first time you see them, disappointed because they announced this was their very last gig ever. After a long period of inactivity, Lost in Vegas agreed to do this one-off gig for the cause. Their album was available for sale with all monies being donated to the charities, of which I duly complied. At the end of the set there were still three more bands to follow and the crowd showed no signs of flagging despite the rising sweaty atmosphere.
The Reasoning opened their set with the haunting and mesmerising ‘Dark Angel’. Lead singer Rachel Cohen, resplendent with her black angel wings, captivated everyone with her vocals that took on an ethereal spiritual quality, flowing in pure form from track to track. Bassist Matthew Cohen has been one of the primary organisers of the Trinity Live event, so much praise and thanks goes out to him and the team. There was an in joke about rabbits and chickens which I still haven’t figured out yet. The Reasoning’s set was full of great complex music, bursting with power and energy with the final track of the set ‘Aching Hunger’ a great example of their blending of classic rock and prog rock.
Things were getting a bit sweaty in the crowd by now, over six hours into the event, but a quick stop for the raffle to raise more monies was in order before Touchstone hit the stage to display some more powerful prog music. The lead vocals of Kim Seviour echoed around the room with a haunting passion, intertwining with great extended guitar riffs and immense power drumming. To the cries of ‘Moo ! Moo!’ Touchstone encored with their classic tune ‘Wintercoast’ before being joined on stage by the legendary John Mitchell of Kino, It Bites and Arena fame for a remarkable cover of Tears For Fears ‘Mad World’.
A break before the headliners set allowed for the grand auction to take place. With items and memorabilia donated by major artists such as Steve Hackett, Yes, Rush Steven Wilson and Marillion up for grabs, the bidding was intense. By my calculation, over £1500 was collected from this auction alone, outstanding stuff from the crowd! Once the shock of money parting hands was over, everyone was ready for the powerhouse of prog music that is Arena. Heavy, melodic, progressive rock and metal of the very highest quality is their trademark. The pedigree of the band members is amazing with the line-up including original Marillion drummer Mick Pointer, It Bites front man John Mitchell, Pendragon keyboard wizard Clive Nolan and bass player John Jowitt who’s worked with Ark, Jadis and Frost. Monstrous vocals from enigmatic frontman Paul Manzi completes the act and their set finishes off a tremendous programme of events with plans afoot for Trinity II and dates already being set for next May.
See the full picture set HERE:
Review and Photography by Stephen Turner.