Trinity Live at The Assembly, Leamington Spa
Six very different British acts provided a charm and a fury at Trinity Live's charity all-dayer.
Words: Phil Weller | Photos: Anthony Firmin
The sequel to 2014's Trinity Live, a gig set up in the wake of Magenta vocalist Christina Booth's breast cancer diagnosis, are aiming to rival the £9,000 it raised last time around for three terrific cancer charities. There was a real sense of warming humanity and giving to the event, with special items - from limited edition box sets and signed vinyl records – all donated by prog royalty to further boost fundraising.
Southampton's A Formal Horse, described by Touchstone guitarist Adam Hodgson as being "out there with the fairies" are an engaging and off-kilter opening act. From viscereal, King Crimson fashioned explosions to ethereal twists, led by new vocalist Hayley McDonnell, they toyed deftly with light and dark.
Dec Burke, formerly of Darwin's Radio and Frost* is taking his solo career in a new direction as this performance symbolises the unofficial début of his new band Dusk. Playing through a set of straightforward, punchy numbers akin to his work with Frost* and Someone Here Is Missing era Pineapple Thief, he embeds his songs in strong, sharp melodies. Keyboardist Carl Westholm having flown over from the States especially for the show, sprinkled extra panache over their set, but it was only when Burke let rip across his fretboard that things really got interesting.
Having left Touchstone last year due to health issues, vocalist Kim Seviour has since completed a Psychology degree and penned her début solo record with John Mitchell (Frost*, Lonely Robot). Here she marks her return to the stage alongside her new backing band and their material is wonderfully quirky. Taking bands like Evanescence, Incubus and Panic At The Disco, who provided the soundtrack to her youth, she twists it into a devilshly progressive mould; her set is simply a joy to watch. New single Chiasma is both vibrant and gothic with its chiming piano and Seviour's luscious, sweeping falsetto dancing its way into an enormous, uplifting chorus. Arguably the set of the day.
Then comes a two hour interval. A genius idea slap bang in the middle of the all day-event which finds MR in a nearby Weatherspoons scoffing burgers and quaffing ales with other Trinity revellers. When everyone returns, the atmosphere has been kicked up a notch. Everybody was suitably lubricated and ready for more.
Ghost Community are an intriguing blend of Dream Theater and Genesis, they have plenty of both grit and pomp. Even in the grey depths of man flu, frontman John Paul Vaughan delivers his vocals with aplomb and plenty of theatrics. Each song plays out like its own mini saga, songs like Rise Up are anthemic and evocative, capitalising on the rising energy levels within the crowd perfectly. With plenty of intricate melodies around every bend, they give you a lot to soak in.
With former vocalist Kim Seviour watching on, you wouldn't blame Touchstone's new songstress Aggie Figurska for feeling a dash of pressure. In fact, it isn't until she performs Contact, her personal favourite and one she dedicates to Kim, that she really comes out of her shell and lets her vocal pipes soar. It is by far the highlight of their set; sizzling, impassioned a gigantic, she pirouettes and sways to pulsing rhythms and swooshing synths and captivates your attention.
John Mitchell's Lonely Robot, armed with gizmos and stage props galore, crowns the day with a tantalising taster of his space rock odyssey. Visuals, of the craters of the moon, of stardust and astronauts and more, flicker on screens flanking the stage accompanying music that sounds big, polished, slick and professional. It isn't a set armed to the teeth with grinding riffs or punch drunk musical moments, these songs are all about their low gravity chord progressions and the melodies, from guitars, synths and Mitchell's voice, that drift through the cosmos of the venue like asteroid debris. Sigma, called for by fans throughout the set, was a glorious way to end the day.