If they really are agnostics they have a funny way of showing it. Raging though blues numbers this night they resemble nothing more than a group of fire and brimstone preachers expounding to some frightened congregation. Their closing number, a thunderous version of the gospel classic ‘John the Revelator’, especially was possessed with some righteous energy.

They quickly retract their opening promise – “We’re going to play extra fast. Anyone got any qualms about that?” – after the furious first song. After admitting “This one’s not so fast, I lied about the fast thing” they develop the softer side of their sound, no mean feat given that the tiny stage contains a huge double bass and what looks like a giant circus drum and a tin helmet as a cymbal. Sometimes this works, and other times the quieter numbers lack the impact necessary to carry a crowd.

As they showed on their ‘Fighting and Onions’ album in 2005 the choir are adept at fierce gospel-esque blues, all jangling guitar and banjo and apocalyptic rhythms. For some reason though the band never really seem to hit their stride in this short set. There are moments that shine through – the aforementioned 'John the Revelator' and the awesome ‘Oh Sorrow’ from Fighting and Onions – but overall it is a strangely subdued outing for a band so obviously capable of serious force. Still, they would seem a band worth keeping faith with.

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Commenting On: 12 Bar, London, 30/9/2007 - Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir

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