Live : Climbing Trees

Early Saturday evening, and a few songs into a sublime set, Climbing Trees' frontman Matthew Frederick paused between songs and said smiling, but almost apologetic, "Hello, we are seventy five percent of Climbing Trees".

Missing from the line up was drummer James Bennetts, whose hard hitting, metronomic style can propel the band to something approaching monumental, both live and on record. It was a foreseen absence difficult not to mark, but ultimately it did not detract from the performance; as Frederick later explained the need to be flexible (Bennetts now lives in London) has led to the band working up an alternative live set with new arrangements - just playing the usual songs acoustically minus the drumming is not the answer.

The result is a sound and mood that lies somewhere between stations on the seldom used branch line that stretches between Déjà Vu period Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, and Elton John at his most longing. If that doesn't sound like it might work for you, then rest assured it would; at Sesiwn Fawr it meant Climbing Trees offered a very mellow, but utterly engaging early evening distraction.

They started a forty five minute festival set with an effective reading of first album opener Aloisi, Martin Webb taking lead vocal, then followed it with the keyboard driven jaunt of Middle. They worked through their back catalogue, with the new arrangements most mesmeric - on these readings Tracks is made hymnal in its minimal elegance, Lost a long still moment of aching beauty and Graves, the story of a life slipping away hopelessly in a small town, delivered with its full melancholic potential realised. Midway a new song, Obsolete, was introduced - a simple, sorrowful ballad of rare quality about a relationship's end.

Under the Lindens closed the set, emphasising that at their best Climbing Trees create layered, drifting, dreamlike and compelling music. They undoubtedly did that here.



Climbing Trees


Set List

  • Aloisi
  • Middle
  • River Home
  • Tracks
  • Lost
  • Obsolete
  • Set in Stone
  • Amber
  • Graves
  • Under the Lindens