Bivouac Club @ Duke Of Wellington, Lincoln ~ Friday 2nd July 2004
Months of touring have taken a band who began their career in Lincolnshire to venues around the UK, and stages such as Glastonbury, and as far afield as the USA. The same band will travel to Japan later in the summer, before that though the band played a low key gig back in the county, the first time they had appeared in Lincolnshire as .... the 22-20's.
They have just released their third single 'Shoot Your Gun' and at the end of a week of promotional appearances at record stores, the band included a special free gig at the Bivouac Club in the Duke Of Wellington pub for their Lincolnshire fans.
Even with just 150 tickets which were snapped up within hours, the club was packed by the time the band opened their set. Some in the audience could recall the days when two of the band played in pubs around the area, including the Tap & Spile in Lincoln. During the gig guitarist and singer Martin Trimble made special mention to the people holding a banner he had glimpsed from the stage at Glastonbury the previous week which referred to the small Lincoln pub. 22-20's bass player Glen Bartup was also a member of Crossfire and the Martin Trimble Band who regularly featured in our weekly articles until 2 years ago.
Martin and Glen who originally came from the Sleaford area are joined by drummer James Irving from Lincoln and Charly Coombes, together they have formed a remarkably tight and dynamic unit, the 22-20's. As one might expect a band who take their unusual name from a song by the old blues musician Skip James are strongly influenced by the blues, though like the bands of the 60's blues boom such as The Pretty Things and the Rolling Stones, and more recently The White Stripes, the 22-20's are integrating older influences with high energised rock.
They opened a 40 minute set with 'Why Don't You Do It For Me' a high energy pile driving angst filled anthem which like a number of their original songs looks on the darker side of relationships. In a noticeable role reversal it is bass player Bartup who has developed the striking stage style that would normally be associated with the band's frontman, whilst singer and guitarist Trimble has built his stage persona round brooding vocals and awesome guitar playing, rather than eye-catching theatrical movements.
Keyboard player Charlie Coombes who gives the 22-20's sound an extra dimension has a style reminiscent of Vincent Crane (who some may recall from Atomic Rooster in the early 70's) in as much as he was rarely seated whilst playing. Completing the line up is drummer James Irving, who lays down the primitive yet highly effective driving African style rhythms that power the 22-20's music.
Their set featured of course their latest single 'Shoot Your Gun' released on three different formats, CD single, DVD and as a vinyl 7 inch, at the end of June. Like its predecessor this song with its intense lyrics and strong melody is about a woman.
The band included several songs from their forthcoming album, due for release in September in their set. For one, 'Friends', a song that has meaningful lyrics about the importance of friends, Martin plays acoustic guitar. This quieter number is certainly a bit of a departure from the rest of their set. Another song from the album also concentrates on the importance holding on to your roots, both songs perhaps inspired by the band's rapid elevation from playing local pubs to touring the world as a signed act. (the band are on the Heavenly Label, part of EMI).
Their set also featured 'Such A Fool', the band's debut 7 inch vinyl single released around a year ago and now a collectors item due to its 500 limited pressing, and the six songs from their live EP 05/03 released last October. The band left the stage with applause ringing in their ears, and quickly returned to play their version of the old blues standard 'King Bee'.
In the past two years the band have made remarkable strides, from gigging at local pubs, apparently hardly daring to ask for payment in case they weren't as good as other bands, to playing major festival stages in the UK, America and shortly, Japan. As we go to press, the band's latest single has entered the BBC Top 40 singles, at number 30, which will perhaps help the band gain the airplay their excellent music deserves and needs to reach ultimately the widest audience possible.
Sadly, the 22-20's success may mean its a long time before Lincolnshire audiences have the opportunity to see the band in action at a local venue again!