And Also The Trees/In The Nursery/Cult With No Name

Islington Academy, London - 13 May 2017

"A majestic, effortless performance"

The organiser of tonight's show, Flag Promotions, ran the same two headliners, And Also The Trees and In The Nursery, 25 years ago, also in London at The Marquee in May 1992. I know as I was there, and I still have my ticket from that night (if little memory of it!). With the addition of the always intriguing Cult With No Name starting the night, I was keen to make this show.

Over time, Cult With No Name have steadily risen from playing gigs in the basement of local wine bars, to performing (and being filmed by German broadcaster Arte) at last year's ELECTRI_CITY Conference in Dusseldorf at which Jean Michel Jarre headlined. They also managed to bag the soundtrack to Blue Velvet Revisited - a documentary about the making of David Lynch's iconic Blue Velvet - where they worked alongside Tuxedomoon and John Foxx. And earlier this year lead vocalist Erik Stein contributed his voice to two tracks on Rusty Egan's latest album Welcome To The Dance Floor.

Cult With No Name      Cult With No Name   Cult With No Name

Photos [L-R]: Cult With No Name

Tonight's half-hour set included a track (No News) that features in Blue Velvet Revisited but which doesn't appear on the released soundtrack, and there was a tantalising preview of their forthcoming album with the more overtly electronic and up-tempo Rosabelle, Believe. They finished with one of their best compositions in recent years (a very cool promo for which as released a few months ago) Everything Lasts An Age, featuring the voice of one Kelli Ali. A satisfying way to start the evening. - Rob Dyer

Cult With No Name setlist: Under the Dirt, Breathing, Hope is Existence, Operation Failed, Lies-All-Lies-All-Lies, No News, Context is Everything, Rosabelle, Believe, Everything Lasts An Age

I've seen In The Nursery perform their soundtrack work several times in the past few years but the last time I saw them play a proper gig was supporting the inexplicably popular VNV Nation, which is so long ago I can't remember the year or even the venue. As they have mainly concentrated on playing continental festivals in recent years, I wasn't sure what to expect.

Happily what I got was a set which leaned heavily on the excellent Blind Sound album (2011) and a brief trawl through the back catalogue (tragically missing anything from the Stormhorse era - I would love to see Compulsion or Elegy played live again). And make no mistake, this was a gig; with a muscular, dynamic performance. There were some minor issues with the vocals occasionally but other than that, the sound was crystal clear - and loud enough that you felt it in your chest and sinews.

In The Nursery      In The Nursery   In The Nursery

Photos [L-R]: In The Nursery

The tracks from Blind Sound benefitted from the live treatment, with the bass and vocals higher in the mix than on the LP. The high points of this material were Crave with its "Bring me down" refrain and a heartfelt vocal from Klive Humberstone on Lectern, although Artisans of Civilisation was only slightly less impressive. A mid-section return to their 1983 debut When Cherished Dreams Come True saw Mystery and Stone Souls given an airing, and although the performance of Stone Souls lacked a certain something, just hearing that bassline scything out from the stage was a fantastic moment.

A final run through of Cobalt from the Les Jumeaux side project, the pulsing sequenced bass not quite gelling with the other elements (there seemed to be some timing issues), followed by a percussive assault on L'Esprit ended the set with a bang, the speakers crackling under the strain as various drums were pummelled with gusto. Minor problems aside it was a great show from ITN, and I hope they play more often, as their back catalogue is so extensive that they're never going to run out of great songs to play live. - Nick Hydra

In The Nursery setlist: intro, Rainhall, Crepuscule, Hymn Noir, Crave, Lectern, Bombed, Mystery, Stone Souls, Artisans Of Civilisation, A Rebours, Cobalt, L'Esprit

At just after 8.30pm And Also The Trees swoon onto the stage, and soon launch into the familiar guitars washes of Your Guess from last year's Born Into The Waves. A relatively rare London appearance from this distinctly un-British of British bands means that they soon have the crowd at their feet. Justin Jones' trademark 'mandolin' guitar still remains the highlight throughout, giving everything a faintly European flavour, and serving as the perfect foil for his brother Simon's sombre baritone.

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Photos [L-R]: And Also The Trees

AATT are all about atmosphere and thankfully they deliver it in droves, their chilly ambiance perhaps explaining why Simon Huw Jones inexplicably keeps his coat on for at least half the set. Of course none of AATN ever break a sweat, in fact perhaps even to their detriment... you kind of want tom to let rip more than they do. Drummer Paul Hill provides many of the climatic thrills. Very minor quibbles aside, it's majestic, effortless performance from a vastly overlooked band that rounds off a pretty special evening. - Erik Stein

And Also The Trees setlist: Domed, Your Guess, Dialogue, Hawksmoor & the Savage, The Sleepers, The Legend of Mucklow, Virus Meadow, Winter Sea, Prince Rupert, Angel, Devil, Man and Beast, The Suffering of the Stream, Brother Fear, The Skeins of Love Encore: Wallpaper Dying, Bloodline, Rive Droite, Encore 2: Slow Pulse Boy


Cult With No Name review: Rob Dyer
In The Nursery review: Nick Hydra
And Also The Trees review: Erik Stein

Cult With No Name photos: © Blaue Rosen /
In The Nursery + And Also The Trees photos: © Veronique RoseNoir Stage Photography /