Poetic Music and Steam at Tanfield Railway
By Rob Nichols
Monday 30 Jun 2014 16:14:00
Browse all Music articles
A gig at a steam railway has to be special, when it is the oldest railway in the world and the acts playing include Lilliput and Martin Longstaff of The Lake Poets then it is not to missed. So where were you?

The other Friday night we drove over to Tanfield Railway, near Stanley, County Durham. Dating back to the eighteenth century the former waggonway is cared for by a team of doting volunteers and staff. Passing the old steam locos and vintage rolling stock we paid a fiver on the doors of one of the Marley Hill railway sheds. The event was part of last weekend's museums at night scheme which saw doors opened to evening visitors around the country.

Inside there were hot dogs and slices of home made chocolate cake and to wash it down beer bearing the names of the three acts. The stage was rigged out like a branch line station from a bygone era festooned with old luggage and vintage advertising sign-age. Some members of the first band, Cohesion, sat astride milk churns in front of two old carriages, illuminated by twinkling fairy lights. What a setting!

Sunderland 5-piece Cohesion played semi acoustically, their guitars twitched and twinkled like the lights. The lead vocals were powerful and impassioned. They describe themselves as being like a dark Two Door Cinema Club, to give you a clue to the sound. Nothing dark about the final song Bittersweet, a simmering, shimmering, melodic slice of indie pop. Bittersweet features on the debut EP “Serene” which the band were selling on the night for just one pound. Cohesion is well worth tracking down online.

LilliputNext band up, Lilliput, ticked and tapped their percussion like an old station clock. The rhythms became stronger like a steam engine edging ever closer. The guitars and keyboard picked out a tune that whistled and glided poetically. Then those sun kissed golden harmonies whisk you up into the heavens. We attempted to clap along to an amazing cover of the Penguin Cafe Orchestra but it is not easy with the ever changing tempo. You could have heard a pin drop through the finale of the truly sublime Little Wanderer. Beautiful music from a band fast becoming one of the shining lights of the north east scene.

Lake PoetsOn this night at the railway The Lake Poets was just the honey coated voice of Martin Longstaff and his acoustic guitar. Yet what more could we want? Martin as always performed from the heart. His music was brimming with passion, whether for the struggles of his family, “North View” or the struggle of the entire north east, “Vane Tempest.” Always primed and ready for our emotional rescue, Martin Longstaff could easily be the lake poet of this generation.

Make sure you look out for future musical events at this magical little railway.

The Lake PoetsPhotos - Tracy Hyman

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