Review and photos by Bracken Hake
Attending a gig on a Tuesday evening is unusual, but the unexpected may provide the most amazing moments. That night carried a special promise for me, as I found myself looking forward to an evening of live music despite knowing absolutely nothing about the bands slated to perform. My enthusiasm grew with each step as I approached the beautiful Cadogan Hall in the heart of Central London.
Dim Grey took the stage and the crowd burst into a frenzy, enthusiastically singing along to every lyric from the first note. It was an enthralling way to begin the evening. Their first song, “Abalus | In Time,” off their latest album, quickly captured my attention. The experimental yet progressive sound of the music, combined with its cinematic quality, transported me on an enthralling sonic journey.
Following that was “The Wave We Thought We’d Ride Forever,” a song that reminded me of Radiohead and boasted a powerful post-rock vibe that hit home. As the night progressed, “Closer,” a tune that preserved their distinctive experimental touch while also incorporating an intriguing trace of country flavour, was an interesting listen.
Both Oskar Holldorff and Hkon Hiberg exhibited an incredible ability to harmonise flawlessly throughout their performance, producing an enticing synergy on stage that breathed an additional layer of enchantment into the night.
Following a brief interval, Big Big Train, the legendary UK progressive rock titans, took the stage. As the lights dimmed, the unmistakable strains of Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” flooded the air, causing a collective outpouring of excitement from the audience. Big Big Train grabbed the stage with an incredible 11-piece ensemble that included everything from guitars and violins to a full brass band. I, like many others in the audience, was taken aback when the brass section began to play.
Their set began with “Folklore,” a tune that felt like Jethro Tull had been imbued with the strength of a brass band. The fusion was nothing short of spectacular, making it a must-listen for music fans of all genres. Big Big Train demonstrated an incredible level of on-stage camaraderie despite the logistical burden of organising so many musicians.
The audience definitely enjoyed their two-hour concert, and I can confidently say that I did as well. This was unquestionably a night that will go down in the history of great live music experiences.