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Review: Mike Heron and Trembling Bells, Hall Two, Sage Gateshead

Martin Ellis enjoyed an evening of polished psychedelic folk at The Sage Gateshead

Psychedelic folk band The Trembling Bells
Psychedelic folk band The Trembling Bells

Back in the 1960s Mike Heron was a lead member of seminal hippy folk superstars the Incredible String Band.

He is now 70 and still is a hippy folk superstar.

Trembling Bells are a young Glasgow-based psychedelic folk band heavily influenced by the Incredible String Band.

Trembling Bells and Mike Heron shared a stage a couple of years ago and earlier this year collaborated in a concert at Celtic Connections, attracting rave reviews.

I didn’t really know what to expect from this concert, apart from a number of IBS classics from their first four albums. Over the evening IBS songs were interspersed with Tumbling Bells material.

Despite wearing a sling and nursing an injured arm, Mike Heron took up position at the front and centre of the stage and performed great stage presence.

He disappeared to the back of the stage when he was not required and in some ways this interrupted the flow of the concert.

I couldn’t make head nor tail of most of the lyrics, but perhaps that should be expected with psychedelic folk. Trembling Bells are a polished band.

Vocalist Lavina Blackwall also plays keyboards and took a dominant role with the other musicians on drums, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, bass and other instruments who provided a solid accompaniment.

Georgia Seddon, Heron’s daughter, primarily played a keyboard but doubled up on a drum.

An enjoyable but not a captivating evening.

Martin Ellis


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