Big Big Train Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     December 18, 2015    
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Big Big Train - King's Place, London (UK) - 14th August 2015

Consensus amongst the group I was with was that none of us had anticipated a gig quite as much as this in a while, partly, one suspects, due to both the rarity of gigs by Big Big Train and the exclusiveness of their three day residence here. Fortunately, it more than lived up to these weighty expectations and judging by the ovations and contented smiles of those leaving the hall, everyone was of the same opinion.

Also pleasing was that this was like the Prog gigs of old, with an appreciative crowd who weren't talking or taking pictures throughout – bliss!

Considering the eight-piece band and five-man brass section had had just a week's rehearsal their tightness and ability to nail down over two hours of multi-faceted music was incredible, not least because several of the musicians played more than one instrument and most were involved in singing the delicious harmonies. Music of this nature requires sound clarity and Rob Aubrey's mix was suitably crystal clear, no mean feat with so much going on.

Pre-show we debated which songs we wanted to hear, none of us had those desires fulfilled but post gig we all agreed we had no complaints with the set whatsoever. One friend even commenting he'd have gone home happy had the concert finished after the first set.

'Make Some Noise' may not be typical Big Big Train fare but it made for a rousing opener which segued perfectly into the first brilliant epic of the evening, 'The First Rebreather', which was superb Prog and gave rise to the first ovation. 'The Underfall Yard' was equally good where the brass section added extra nuance as they did on later tracks, before the short folky 'Uncle Jack', was played. In fact the set was very well paced with shorter numbers interspersed between the epics.

'Victorian Brickwork' closed out the first set and a positive buzz filled the air as audience digested what they'd heard thus far.

'Kingmaker' opened the second part gloriously before 'Wassail' picked up the tempo. 'Summoned By Bells' was awe-inspiringly good and beautiful. I'll admit my heart sank temporarily when it looked as if we were having a drum solo but this was brief and served as a route into the terrific 'Judas Unrepentant'. 'Curator Of Butterflies' and 'East Coast Racer' rounded out the set before they returned for 'Hedgerow', where Rachel Hall's violin solo was delightful.

This wasn't just a gig, it was an event with film projections accentuating some songs and one can only hope that they can sort out the logistics to make their appearances more frequent. I can't wait for the DVD.

Gary Marshall

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