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Big Big Train - A Stone’s Throw From The Line album review

Double disc live set from band’s acclaimed Kings Place shows

Cover art for Big Big Train's album

For a band that play gigs less often than Rush, a new live album might seem like a strange career turn. Especially if you consider that until Big Big Train loaded their gear into London’s Kings Place in August 2015, they hadn’t played together for 17 years: that’s more than four Olympic Games.

By their own admission, they were certain they could do the shows, but like robbing a bank, they weren’t really sure it was going to work until they were in the vault. It’s an odd analogy – it’s theirs – but to play it forward, on the strength of this performance, BBT would now be sunning themselves in Acapulco, Buster-style, toasting their ill-gotten gains. Little wonder these shows scooped the Live Event category at this year’s Prog Awards.

Recorded over three nights, the band have handpicked the best performances to recreate the running order of those magnetic shows. They don’t put a foot wrong, from the opening stomp of Make Some Noise through the aching Victorian Brickwork to the brassy and languid Summoned By Bells, arguably the highlight of the album, A Stone’s Throw is a richly coloured snapshot of a captivating night.

Philip Wilding is a novelist, journalist, scriptwriter, biographer and radio producer. As a young journalist he criss-crossed most of the United States with bands like Motley Crue, Kiss and Poison (think the Almost Famous movie but with more hairspray). More latterly, he’s sat down to chat with bands like the slightly more erudite Manic Street Preachers, Afghan Whigs, Rush and Marillion. He ghosted Carl Barat’s acclaimed autobiography, Threepenny Memoir, and helped launch the BBC 6 Music network as producer and co-presenter on the Phill Jupitus Breakfast Show. Five years later he and Jupitus fronted the hugely popular Perfect 10 podcast and live shows. His debut novel, Cross Country Murder Song, was described, variously, as ‘sophisticated and compelling’ and ‘like a worm inside my brain’. His latest novel The Death And Life Of Red Henley is out now.