Tuesday, June 28, 2016

'Totally enthralling' - Trembling Bells wow Coventry at Old Grammar School

'Totally enthralling' - Trembling Bells wow Coventry at Old Grammar School.

Pete Clemons has his say on a brilliant gig in unusual surroundings

The Old Grammar School

On the evening of the day that the results of the European elections were being announced, then what better way to get away from it all there was, than to go and see a band play live in a great setting?

Ironically the band visiting Coventry, a city who voted to leave in numbers higher than the national average, was a group from Scotland, a country that voted to stay in.

And in the wonderful yet unusual surroundings of the old 12th century Grammar School, on the corner of Hales Street and Bishop Street in Coventry city centre, rock band Trembling Bells certainly lifted the spirits.

I had read that Trembling Bells were a folk rock band but I didn’t hear anything remotely traditional about them. They are electric, they are led by a drummer, the vocals are distinctive and haunting, the organ was dominant and they are heavy on improvisation.

That’s not to say that I was disappointed, far from it, this adventurous and, musically, tightly knitted band do make a great noise which I really enjoyed.

Trembling Bells opened the evening’s events with the attention grabbing ‘Wide Majestic Aire’. This was followed by equally absorbing tunes such as ‘My Father was a Collapsing Star’ ‘Killing Time in London Fields’ and ‘Christ’s Entry into Govan’.

For well over an hour I was totally enthralled and completely in the bands grip. Their frantic yet controlled energy just demanded attention.

I had noticed beforehand that the previous evening Trembling Bells had supported Belle and Sebastian at the Royal Albert Hall.

And effervescent drummer, Alex Neilson, made reference to it saying that it had been a warm up for the Coventry gig.

Trembling Bells are no strangers to Coventry as their latest CD release along with their previous effort ‘The Sovereign Self’ have both been released by Tin Angel Records.

And as if to capture the spirit of the unfolding events further, another thing that made me smile was the title of a track on the band’s latest CD release – ‘England was Aghast’.

Given the circumstances that surrounded the day, it just couldn’t be made up.

Finally the Tin Arts Centre, based at the Canal Basin, deserves a great deal of credit.

Over the years they have certainly had great vision in providing live music in a variety of buildings around the city that, I for one, would never normally had the opportunity of venturing into.

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