And Also The Trees @ The Cross, Birmingham

Haunting, and the haunted


I traveled as far as Birmingham to see AATT...Well, not from that far, only London.
I had sadly missed their recent show there, last month. There was just no missing it again.

Maybe it was the evocative sounds, the passion, the absolute giving to the music - their commitment, as a whole, as I remembered it, that made this gig really unmissable. But the answer to all that was to come soon, and with great conviction.

The third time I saw them live, after a long absence from Birmingham (theirs and mine), was the most complete of them all. On the one hand the intimate space, upstairs at The Loft, letting the band's heat spread infectiously outwards, on the other an impeccable songbook spreading three odd decades, and captured to its core. One thing was certain: They left me--and a few others, it seemed--hooked.

The melancholy Hunter Not The Hunted transported the mind way out of those Moseley loft walls. Missing escorted it further with an air of obscure possibility. He Walked Through the Dew was an intimate cry. Slow Pulse Boy made your body quiver and Dialogue simply tore you apart: The whole, a power so therapeutic, it could deconstruct and reconstruct your soul in one fleeting night.

I could hardly steal a moment to turn my camera into video mode (hence a collection of really short videos), or turn my eyes away for long altogether - transfixed and, for the most part, devotedly fixed on Justin Jones' guitar.

There was just no equal... From a Spanish lament to other familiar, ever haunting mandolin territory, that guitar fiddled with unknown, up to that moment, sides of your psyche and a vision that enveloped and swallowed you whole.

Simon Huw Jones, typically,  was a true force behind the microphone: An underground, tortured duke in full possession of us all. The bass more than once jazzed the melody up, the drums, where needed, kept the momentum going and Emer Brizzolara's collection of instruments deftly and definitively gave body to the sound.

I lost myself in the music and I lost myself altogether. But I'll never lose sight again of what it means to come face-to-face with that band.

I'll jump back to Birmingham if I have to - on one freaking foot.

Text and photography by Danai Molocha.