Treetop Flyers - Live At The Trades Club, Hebden Bridge

With support from In Fear of Olive
Treetop Flyers - Live At The Trades Club, Hebden Bridge
The Trades Club in the beautiful little valley town of Hebden Bridge is in itself worthy of venturing out - a star in its own right, the venue’s scuffed and seasoned working men’s club charm and decent ales guarantees a good night. Add an entertainment manager who manages to keep strong a 30-year history of luring big name acts to a small Yorkshire community and you’re on to a winner. Some of the upcoming acts at this celebrated venue include the likes of Patti Smith, The Duke Spirit and Joan As Police Woman, to name but a few.

Tonight we’re treated to In Fear of Olive and the West London countrified rockers, Treetop Flyers.

The up and coming four-piece In Fear of Olive are up first and it seems, in both appearance and sound, as though they’ve travelled across the Atlantic to be here. The frontman adopts an Eddie Cochran-like stance with a killer blonde quiff to boot and his compadres look like they’ve just finished a day’s graft on the ranch. In reality they’ve only driven over from nearby Doncaster, but within the space of the opener alone it’s immediately obvious that these young guns are a tight knit unit with saddlebags of talent.

They till a rich and fertile ground of influence that seeds elements of rockabilly, roots, Americana and bluesy rock to grow their own instantly likeable brew. But their anachronistic charms are totally contemporary – when is brilliant ability and genuine spirit ever not relevant? Frontman Jake Cope’s initial eyes-on-the-floor reticence belies a simmering intensity and an engaging stage presence. Both he and the cranked up and pounding virtuosity of the drummer command your attention, while the bassist and lead guitarist act as anchors, filling the songs and chiming in for some pitch-perfect four-part harmonies. They nail a blistering cover of Johnny Cash’s ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ but they also display moments of emotional tenderness as well as kick-bollock ferocity.

We hope their name doesn’t hamper any duly warranted success because they certainly don’t come across as though they’re afraid of anything or anyone, let alone Olive. And don’t just take our word for it, the irrefutably cool Richard Hawley said of them, “Really, really great songs, boss lyrics too and sympathetic arrangements played with real feeling and soul… what is there not to like?” It could be a few months away, it might be more than a year, but In Fear of Olive are going to be massive - Mumfords massive if there’s any justice.

After a much-needed throat quenching break the stage fills up with six-piece Treetop Flyers. Now two of these chaps actually are from over the water but the band are now resident in lead singer Reid Morrison’s manor of West London. Laid back purveyors of a whiskey-warm brand of country rock, their sound is reminiscent of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and conjures images of sunset over canyons and cosy fireside sing-alongs. They open with the delicate ‘Rose is in the Yard’, a slow-burner with sweet harmonies and some deft guitar work and again, it doesn’t take long to grasp that we’re watching some seriously talented musicians.

All the members have cut their chops in other marginally successful acts and the years spent in the business tells in the relaxed way they play complex arrangements. Plenty of people have travelled a ways to catch this band and there is a great response to the coastal breeze of ‘Things Will Change’ and the intimate bar room tinkle of ‘Disappearing Kind’.

Occasionally they drift into an Eagles realm of MOR but it’s all delivered with such warmth and good intentions that the dad-rock moments are easily forgiven. They showcase some newer numbers that go down a treat with the well-lubricated crowd but they round up a cracking evening with an old favourite for many present, ‘Is It All Worth It’ from 2009 EP ‘To Bury The Past’. Judging by the collective grins all round, it definitely is all worth it, for tonight at least.

Words by Nick Rice

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