With the looming figures of Chez Guevara and a Zapatista fighter behind the stage, Liverpool four piece pop protest band The Trestles launched their long awaited debut album ‘What Do You See’ on Saturday to an eager crowd at Hope Street’s own socialist haunt, The Casa.

It was also poignant that The Trestles celebrated the launch of their album during the centenary of Robert Tressell’s death, author of the classic socialist novel The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists , and the inspiration for the band’s name – at least in spirit. The spelling however comes from a Bruce Springsteen lyric, whose influence is felt beyond the name.

DJ Alun Hughes kept everyone entertained with some great tunes right through the night until the early hours while support band Fickle Fingers set the evening off on the right tone with an excellent retro sounding set that really lifted the audience.

Once The Trestles took to the stage, front man Alan O’Hare conversed with the crowd before launching into their opening song, Heavy Heart. Sporting the same checked lumberjack shirt as lead guitarist Tom Carroll and Bass Guitarist Michael “Tet” Tetlow, it wasn’t clear whether this was a pre-arranged fashion statement or some Marxist statement of solidarity. Drummer Howard ‘Howie’ Northover however broke ranks, only proving that some musicians are more equal than others.

However accomplished a band may be, when you’re in a city saturated with talented musicians and songwriters, sometimes it takes a little something else to stand apart. With The Trestles that something else is attitude and the band have it abundance.

O’Hare teared through each song as if his life depended on it and the audience headed for the dance floor by only the second song, Sing On, encouraged by the bands catchy melodies.

With a set of thirteen songs plus two more during the encore, each song was performed with authority, including the excellent Maggie’s Farm #2. O’Hare switched between acoustic and electric guitars while enjoying plenty of banter with the crowd.

After previously experiencing some dodgy acoustics at the Casa, I was happy the band had invested in a full sound desk and the results were clear. Their setup was professional and their ability was obvious, producing well rehearsed performances seamlessly.

Formed in 2007, the album launch is an important step in The Trestles journey. The band has built up a good catalogue of enjoyable pop songs with strong lyrics; they are technically gifted and definitely know how to entertain a crowd.

But then The Trestles’ talent was never in question, only their checked shirts.

The Trestles debut album ‘What Do You See’ is available using PayPal from March 21st on the band’s website. Or you can pick up a copy from Probe at The Bluecoat, School Lane or News From Nowhere, Bold Street, Liverpool.



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