Over the last 25 years, Big Big Train has established a respected place for itself on the UK progressive rock scene. Its unique brand of music, while clearly inspired by some of the seventies greats, brings its own distinctive approach to the ‘English pastoral’ prog tradition, featuring rich arrangements, a mix of electric and acoustic instruments, and an amalgamation of additional influences from post-rock, folk, classical and pop.
Formed in 1990 by Andy Poole and Greg Spawton, the band slowly and consistently built up a following. But it was with the release of The Underfall Yard in 2009 that the prog world really stood up and took notice. Featuring new band members David Longdon, a singer of extraordinary emotional power, and the considerable talents of drummer Nick D’Virgilio (Spock’s Beard) and guitarist Dave Gregory (XTC), the album made full use of the expanded musical firepower to express its lyrical themes of English history, landscape and industry. It notably incorporated the very English sound of a brass ensemble, arranged and led by trombonist Dave Desmond, which has featured on the band’s albums ever since.
The ‘English Electric’ albums, issued in 2012 and 2013, cemented the band’s reputation in a UK prog scene which was now in full renaissance, and received rave reviews and national radio play. The band was strengthened by the addition of keyboardist Danny Manners and violinist Rachel Hall (Stackridge), and won the Breakthrough Artist category at the 2013 Progressive Music Awards.
Having been a studio-only outfit for a long time, Big Big Train played their first gigs in 17 years at Kings Place, London, in 2015. The band was now an eight piece with the arrival of guitarist/keyboardist Rikard Sjöblom (Beardfish), and were joined on stage by the five piece brass ensemble. These eagerly awaited performances sold out within days and were enthusiastically received. A Blu-ray release, Stone & Steel, featured performances both from the studio rehearsals and from the gigs themselves.
The band’s ninth album, Folklore, was released in May 2016 to general acclaim, and a busy year for Big Big Train culminated in winning both Best Live Event and Band Of The Year at the 2016 Progressive Music Awards.
The Cadogan Hall performances will be the first full-band gigs since 2015, and will feature the full 13-musician line up.
NB. Please note start time.