To celebrate their 10th anniversary as a band, everyone’s favourite Leeds-based epic post rockers I Like Trains (they’ve dropped the ridiculously structured iLiKETRAiNS thankfully) are doing a jaunt around the UK playing their debut EP Progress Reform in full. Their Manchester stop (actually in Salford), is the beautiful St Philip’s Church off Chapel Street, a favourite venue of mine – there’s something about gigs in churches that really appeals to me, they always sound amazing and they feel a bit special. Which coincidently is the perfect word to describe tonight’s proceedings: special.

The band waste no time getting down to business, opening with the first song from Progress Reform, ‘Terra Nova’, the crescendo of which is stunning, four guitarists thrashing away to create a wonderful, uplifting noise, all four lost in the triumphant ending of the song. It’s refreshing to see a band with four guitarists lined up, something which rarely seems to happen these days, and when they combine to bring an ungodly noise to this godly venue, it really is something. Working their way through the album brings several highlights, particularly ‘Stainless Steel, which starts off with the menacing couplet “Please don’t go into the kitchen, that’s where the knives are/And I won’t be held responsible”, in David Martin’s baritone voice, accompanied by a sparse guitar, before the rest of the band join in about half way through to create a surge of joyous, swirling feedback-laden uproar, one guitarist attacking his strings with a bow, the noise taking over the church and all who sit watching in awe as the band hit a peak. It’s astonishing and thrilling to hear.

The band bring members of support band ‘Her Name is Calla’ on for the final song of ‘Progress Reform’, the stately ‘The Beeching Report’, it’s funeral pace a nice juxtaposition to the thrill of ‘Stainless Steel’. With the EP section done with, the band play a greatest hits of sorts, mainly from debut album ‘Elegies To Lessons Learnt’. ‘Twenty Five Sins’ military drums pound through the floor of the church and I wouldn’t have been surprised if the devil himself  made an appearance as Martin sings “Will you be surprised when the flames consume you,” a strangely apt line for the surroundings. Finishing with the near 10 minute ‘Spencer Percival’, another song that culminates in all consuming noise as the band once again lose themselves in their creations, I have witnessed a band clearly at ease with celebrating their past, thrilling an audience who have watched them evolve over the last 10 years. Martin’s says ‘thanks for resisting the evils of the 6Music Festival to come here tonight’, to whoops of delight from the assembled throng. I don’t think there’s many gathered here who would have swapped a ticket to see Damon Albarn et al over at Victoria Warehouse, for this was a very special evening indeed.

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