Trinity Live Presents

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.

Matt Stevens

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.

Magenta

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.

Heather Findlay

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.

Lost In Vegas

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.

The Reasoning

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’.

Touchstone

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.

Arena

See the full picture set HERE:

Review and Photography by Stephen Turner.

Emma Scott

The O2 Academy 3 Birmingham, 10th May 2014.

Singer-songwriter Charow opened the night with an excellent and passionate solo acoustic set which even included a thought provoking poem recital.

Charow

Kuoko followed with the first of the night’s full-on indie and alternative band set. Together since 2012, Kuoko set the pace and showed their professionalism with an injured bass player playing his first gig with band, sitting down with his bass held vertically between his legs, old school bass style!

Kuoko

Superficials followed on by unleashing some impressive 90’s rooted alternative vibes on to the audience. Plenty of hooks were in there together with guitars proudly riffing away in heavy doses.

Superficials

A great young band, The Assist were up next. Full of swagger and Madchester attitude, The Assist brought some killer beats to the night together with a sound that was full of soul and passion.

The Assist

Headliners, The Rainband were certainly the jewel in the crown of the night. The four piece Manchester band hit Birmingham with a shedload of powerful rhythms, catchy melodies and tasteful guitar riffs that seemed to drive adrenaline throughout the body with a compelling force. With endorsements and supports slots with some of the great established music acts such as Simple Minds, Ocean Colour Scene and Liam Gallagher under their belt, the feel about The Rainband is that they are on the verge to break in a big way. With the good times rolling, The Rainband have announced they will tour Italy in July with Scottish singer songwriter Paolo Nutini in addition to having their latest single Sirens being playlisted on Janice Long’s BBC Radio 2 show.

The Rainband

See more pictures from the night HERE:

Review and Photography by Stephen Turner.

WCH Battle Of The Bands

The Final.

The Wulfrun Hall Wolverhampton 25th April 2014.

This competition has been many months in the planning and tonight see’s the ultimate final round being played out here at The Wulfrun.

Walking into the hall and seeing the stage in it’s full glory was simply nothing short of stunning and a fitting tribute to the bands and their fan’s who have made this competition so special and when I say bands, I mean all 24 of them, as many of those who didn’t make it through to the final, have continued to show their support for the competition and the other bands remaining – and that truly means a lot.

Battle Of The Bands Final 2014

By the end of this evening the final outcome would be known so no pressure for tonight’s judges who were Brian Tatler (Diamond Head), Gavin Monaghan (Magic Garden Recording Studios), John Hart (Music Consultant and former Band member of Edward II) and little old me.

Tonight’s 7pm start saw Mr George’s Famous Last Words first up on stage and as a result of their prior outstanding performances in the previous rounds, their name and popularity in this competition has spread like wildfire and despite the early start, they had an enthusiastic audience waiting for them. Their performance tonight shone very bright indeed, with the personalities of Mr George and his Famous Last Words bringing plenty of sparkle to the Wulfrun stage aswell and a top notch start to the night.

Mr George's Famous Last Words

Our next band performing tonight were The Regulars and in the weeks prior to the final, it’s been very apparent from their posting on Facebook that the excitement and anticipation about playing had be coursing through their veins in overdrive. Their set tonight reflected those feelings, with each and every song having an energy and a spirit worthy of maximum entertainment and in true Regular’s style, they could have happily played on long after the last note was gone.

The Regulars

This competition was one that was open to all musical genres and flying the flag tonight for the metal community, were Husk – UK Heavy Metal. There is always an aura of classic intensity to be found within the music of Husk and when combined with the mesmerizing bass playing of frontman Bob Taylor, each performance delivered in the competition so far has always packed a brutal punch. Once again, Husk thrashed out their own superb brand of hellfire and brimstone and without any doubt at all, they did the metal community proud tonight.

Husk

One of the great things for me about being involved in WCH’s Battle Of The Bands, is that it’s been a privilege to see some great West Midland based bands that I’d not previously come across, with Lynus being one of them. Lynus make for an intensely powerful rock trio and clearly enjoyed unleashing their set upon The Wulfrun. There was simply no holding Justin Griffiths (vocals and guitar) back tonight, as regardless of whether he was taking command of the mic, raging across the stage or climbing the speakers, he was definitely a man on a mission tonight! Lynus are clearly looking to take 2014 by storm, so make sure you keep an eye open for them as these guys are serious news!

Lynus

From Day one of this competition, I’ve greatly admired The Nics for their down to earth, honest and heart warming approach to their music and despite the size of the stage at The Wulfrun and the massive audience in front of them, their smiles could not have been bigger and the connection between them and the audience could not have been greater. The Nics have this infectious ability to draw you into each performance and tonight their spectacular guitar riffs, vocals and full on rock ‘n’ roll energy hit the right spot once again.

The Nics

Tonight’s Final was simply outstanding and everyone present whether it be the bands on stage, all their fans in the audience or those working hard behind the scenes played a very important part in making it just so. There are too many people to individually commend but a very special round of applause has to be raised to Adam Lavender for pulling everything together from the very beginning and to Wolverhampton Civic Halls for the provision tonight of their very outstanding venue, The Wulfrun Hall.

Having watched and loved each and every minute of all of the performance’s tonight, the one moment I had dreaded had arrived, as the time had come to report back to Adam Lavender along with the other judges, for our scores to be tallied together with the outcome of the competition to be unveiled as follows:

1st Place – Husk

2nd Place (Joint) – The Nics and the Regulars

4th Place – Mr George’s Famous Last Words

5th Place – Lynus

Husk - Winners Of WCH Battle Of The Bands Final

It goes without saying that huge congratulations go out to Husk who took first place tonight but it also needs to be said that each band who played here tonight were here because they were winners too and I hope that they will all take that positive thought forward with them on their future journeys.

Words by Sue Wardle and Photography by Stephen Turner.