When you've had an advance copy of a release, attending the album launch can, potentially, be a little disappointing, in that, sonically, the live performance may not be able to match whatever studio digital wizardry and trickery has been employed. There was no such problem tonight, however, as Treetop Flyers took the capacity Lexington audience by storm and gave as good a live performance as you could wish for, with the seven songs showcased from their eponymous third album being delivered with a quality that certainly matched, and at times even surpassed, that of the recording.
I was privileged, last October, to see the group preview four new numbers during an outstanding gig, all of which, pleasingly, both made the cut onto this latest release and were also aired tonight, (link to FATEA review here), and it has to be said that the addition of guest saxophonist Geoff Thomas Widdowson, from Loose label stable-mates Danny and The Champions Of The World, is an inspired decision, adding, as he does, such a warm dimension to the overall sound of tonight's six-piece band.
Despite the initial vagaries of the dreaded 'buzz' from of a rogue amplifier, all gremlins were quickly banished as the band kicked off with three in a row from the new offering. The wonderful, soulful Warning Bell, (introduced as Warning Bells last October), had the audience enraptured from the start, before an almost classic British-rock sounding, Kooky Clothes, which built to a fabulous crescendo, confirmed that this was going to be a very special night. With It's Hard To Understand completing this opening salvo of new tracks, two earlier songs, namely Sleepless Nights and a glorious version of Lady Luck, provided a Palomino sandwich filling before four new Treetop Flyers' album songs were played next.
Needle gave ample opportunity not only to highlight what an accomplished vocal range Reid Morrison possesses, but also how competent and confident the group are across a range of musical styles, in this case a sultry, melancholic number incorporating soaring saxophone. Blissful harmonies featured on the truly delightful I Knew I'd Find You before the, by now hot, breathless and 'glowing' audience reacted ecstatically to Sweet Greens & Blues, originally slated for Palomino, but finally making it onto the latest recording.
In all too short a time, amid howls of complaint, the final song was announced. And what a tour de force this live version of Art Of Deception was. Clocking in at just under nine minutes, this psych-soul freak-out built up from a gentle groove to, (tautology alert), a structured jam of epic proportions. There was no way that the crowd was going to let the band finish yet, and to rapturous, almost deafening applause, they reappeared, albeit by degrees, for two more numbers
In 2012, whilst at SXSW Music Festival, Reid let it be known that Jim Ford would be one of his ideal band members, thus it should come as no surprise that for the first encore we were to be treated to a truly blistering version of Sounds of Our Time, co-written by Jim and Bobby Womack. On tonight's performance of this song alone, it is clear that Reid Morrison has one of the best voices in music today - any genre - anywhere - full stop.
With all six musicians back on stage, the group returned to the Palomino album for a second encore. The live 11 minute epic that is Dance Through The Night went some way to satiating an audience who, notwithstanding last trains home, would happily have enjoyed more.
There are few certainties in life - attending a Treetop Flyers gig and leaving with a joyous feeling of euphoria is one.
Treetop Flyers - the latest album from Treetop Flyers was released on 24th August, and is already receiving excellent reviews. It will hopefully propel the group to wider, fully-deserved, recognition. A quality release from a quality group of musicians which builds on the very solid foundations that they have laid and elevates them to a higher level still.
A quick word of thanks also to London Garage/Soul/Rock'n'Roll duo Cowbell, for their powerful, energetic and highly entertaining set. Jack Sandham - vocals & guitar and Wednesday Lyle - drums & vocals, gave an assured performance that was extremely well received.
David Pratt words and picture
There are only so many hours in a day and only so many gigs we can get to. We'd really like to expand our national coverage of the live scene as it remains the life blood of music.
Are you able to help us and the artist you're seeing out by dropping us a review once you get back home, and maybe even a picture. If you are able to help, Mail Us your review and we'll get it up as quick as we can
The Fatea Showcase Sessions are a series of downloads featuring acts that we've really enjoyed and think that more people should get the chance to hear.
Click Here to get the latest session