The Travelling Band at Rattlesnake of Angel
The Travelling Band, five alt-folk/alt-Americana consummate musicians from Manchester play a one-off gig in Rattlesnake of Angel. Their third album, The Big Defreeze is freshly recorded and ready for release, but the band are pausing in hopeful anticipation of a decent distribution deal. For the latest opus they brought in Iestyn Polson (producer of David Gray, David Bowie and Patti Smith among others). His basic brief was to capture the outfit’s onstage vitality and transfer it onto record.
Joint frontman of the group, Jo Dudderidge discussed the new recording and his hopes for the album. He refutes the labelling of the band as Americana, stating “though we share a love of harmonica, Hammond organ and influences with these bands we are not interested in reflecting American lives but instead are focused on our own surroundings, our own Englishness”. The band were winners of the Glastonbury Festival New Talent award in 2008, had an album of the day on BBC Radio 6 and a track used in the Ian Dury biopic movie Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll. These successes have steadied them through lean times, and Dudderidge feels they’re stronger now, the new recording having a “force and reflective power” that is akin to their live work.
Dudderidge shares a dizzying array of instruments with his co-vocalist Adam Gorman, dividing banjo, mandolin, acoustic guitar and Hammond organ between them. Accompanying them are charismatic bassist Chris Spencer, the wonderfully coiffeured Nick Vaal on drums and the towering Steve Mullan on lead guitar. Together they have a formidable live reputation – one that ensures the venue that is both rammed and in need of some ventilation.
The audience are feeling the heat, though less than the band sweltering under the stage lights. Nevertheless, the performance builds in intensity, the five new tracks resting easily amid the older material, all enthusiastically welcomed by a baying crowd. The new single Hands Up is catchy and anthemic à la Arcade Fire, Borrowed and Blue is a slow-building thing of beauty and Making Eyes is a rabble-rouser that gets the crowd hopping – no minor achievement in a venue this torrid. The old favourites Sundial and Only Waiting get the expected sing-a-long response, and then The Travelling Band are gone.
The influences of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and Wilco are there to see, but they’re very much their own band, the combination of US and UK folk influences producing a fiery live experience. On this evidence they’ll be signed again soon, and for the sake of the UK music scene, that contract can’t come soon enough.
Photos: Lucia Hrda
For further information and future events visit The Travelling Band’s website here.
Watch the video for Hands Up here: