Trinity Live 2017 Preview: A Formal Horse


The world of prog bands together next month for Trinity Live II, a charity all-dayer at Leamington Spa on May 27 raising funds for three terrific cancer charities Tickets for this year’s event are available here. Lonely Robot and Touchstone top the bill, but the show openers are well deserving of your attention too…

“Our live gigs are very human experiences,” says A Formal Horse guitarist Benjamin Short. The Southampton band, which he describes as “a visceral rock band, which evidently got bored of playing rock music”, may have ended up calling the spheres of prog home thanks to their nimble musicianship and (wonderful) self-indulgency, but they’ve brought their warming charm along with them. They deliver gruff, dislocated guitar riffs and spasmodic bass lines aplenty, all sitting underneath Hayley McDonnell’s sweet yet cutting vocal lines, and they deliver with smiles on their faces. There is a tangible human touch illuminating their music.

“If you take yourself too seriously before you’ve even started you’ve lost already,” Short continues, reflecting on the extremely competitive and monetised modern day market. “When we started we had big plans about making sure we were very tidy and well rehearsed in terms of the physical side of the show, trying to look professional, but it just doesn’t work for us. We are much more reactionary. Our gigs are always absolutely by the seat of our pants, there are no click tracks or MIDI backing tracks. It’s really risky stuff but we all quite like that.”

The result then, of the tangling of their dextrous but stripped down instrumentation and of their freewheeling, energetic live performances leads Benjamin to say one thing: “We will give a very different experience to most other bands on that bill. We can guarantee to be an interesting live band if nothing else.”

They open up the show at Leamington Spa, playing in the main auditorium for the first time having supported Knifeworld in The Zephyr Longue and often frequented the basement venue in the past. This is a step up for the band in many ways, but it is an opportunity they are relishing grabbing by the balls.

“We released our new record, Made In Chelsea a few weeks ago and it is definitely a step on from our previous ones. It’s not necessarily about getting better at every single thing we’ve done, but it’s a case of what we’re good at and using it more. Our songs are getting more concise and the material is much more effective and to the point. We’ve managed to say in 30 seconds what took us three minutes last time around.”

With the new record no doubt dominating the ebb and flow of their set at Trinity, expect intelligent music that attacks you with aplomb, blended with singing that borders on the angelic. Expect a cocktail of contradictions which, against the odds, tastes wholly intoxicating. From the King Crimon-isms of KnobInANova to the Genesis referencing Apocalypse in 158 which sounds as maniacally destructive and leftfield as you’d imagine, this is the perfect band to blow away the cobwebs and kick off the event.

About Trinity Live:

The idea for Trinity Live came about in 2014. It was originally planned as a triple-headliner tour for Magenta, Touchstone and The Reasoning but was rescheduled as a one-day fundraiser when Magenta vocalist Christina Booth was diagnosed with breast cancer. The original event raised £12,000 for Cancer Research UK, Macmillan and Teenage Cancer Trust.

Lonely Robot tops the bill with Touchstone, Ghost Community & more also performing. This year’s event includes a prog auction and an aftershow party at The Zephyr Longue with a DJ set from Prog Editor Jerry Ewing and a surprise acoustic act being announced nearer the time.

Tickets for Trinity II are available here. More information can be found here.

Phil Weller

You can usually find this Prog scribe writing about the heavier side of the genre, chatting to bands for features and news pieces or introducing you to exciting new bands that deserve your attention. Elsewhere, Phil can be found on stage with progressive metallers Prognosis or behind a camera teaching filmmaking skills to young people.