Live : Climbing Trees17.09.16 : Gorjys Secrets, Caer Rhun Hall, Conwy
The setting for the first Gorjys Secrets was Caer Rhun Hall near Conwy, a country house converted to a hotel, with the obligatory terraced lawns and full manorial set of out-buildings its name suggests.
Mid-bill amongst a slew of elegant singer songwriters Climbing Trees took the stage facing a crowd basking in late summer sun; the house itself, the manicured gardens, scattered picnic hampers and folding camping chairs giving the suggestion of an idyllic garden party rather than a music festival. Now drawing on two successful albums, Hebron and Borders, whatever the circumstance Climbing Trees are a difficult proposition to resist live.
There's variety as they switch seamlessly between the big music of expansive, soaring songs such as Fall, the gentler semi-acoustic sound of Under the Lindens or Aloisi, and the faster melodic rock of new single Amber.
There's showmanship too - Matthew Frederick taking to the role of frontman with charisma and spontaneity - offering here a Rod Stewart moment when a giant beachball arrived unbidden on stage, and then satisfying an urge to crowd surf with the one audience member who was as committed as he was.
Graves, the first single off Borders, was an unqualified success in this set - with its rolling church organ intro, followed by James Bennetts' fierce, metronomic drumming underpinning squalling guitar and huge, aching choruses. The radiant rendition of Fall was another - if you're just going to write and record one song in your life you'd be satisfied if it was that one. And the rest? There was no weak link, live the songs jostled as equals for praise.
Beyond the component parts of the band's sound, and the crafted songs, there is the sense that there is enormous collective authenticity in what Climbing Trees do, and it enables them to connect immediately to people who have not heard their music before - by the end of the encore there was the full set of singing, something approaching dancing, and effusive applause from the festival crowd.
- Set In Stone
- River Home
- Heading South
- Under The Lindens
- Encore : Burning Candle