iLiKETRAiNS are supported tonight by Shady Bard. There are five of them- two guitarists, one of them on vocals ; a cellist and a violinist also on vocals, a drummer and a keyboardist. Their music is intense and melancholic with songs that start quietly and build up to a wall of noise – a veritable sonic assault. I like them. They sing about penguins and global warming amongst other things and I was really glad to have caught them.

iLiKETRAiNS have built in confidence since I first saw them two years ago in Sheffield. Singer Dave Martin fills in between songs with humorous banter, telling the audience that they don’t normally get a good crowd in Manchester as they are from Leeds.

They have been building quite a following since the early days. Their obsession with obscure historical figures and events has not abated and they seem to have all the hallmarks of achieving cult status. Once a kiss of death, these days who knows what it could lead to as things are changing so rapidly in the world of music. Using interesting marketing tools such as providing fans with a Railcard, they’ve also got a presence on just about every social networking site going!

The gig is an especially good one with the band seeming to really enjoy themselves – dead chuffed that they’ve drawn such a large crowd in Manchester they seem to be in a really good mood. On-stage wear has changed from the British Rail jackets since I last reviewed them some time back to white shirts with black ties and armbands. They play a lot of older material interspersed with songs from their new album, 'Elegies to Lessons Learnt'. 'The Deception', their new single, comes at the end of the set. This one is obscure even by iLikETRAiNS' standards, being the tale of Donald Crowhurst who undertook a single-handed round the world yacht race in 1968, giving false reports of his position leading the media to think he would win. It is thought he threw himself overboard as his boat was found empty after his final transmission.

Altogether this was an enjoyable gig and I look forward to hearing more from them and seeing them develop further.


The photographs that accompany this article were taken by Neil Bailey exclusivelym for Pennyblackmusic.

















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