Phildel: Sacred Trinity Church, Salford – live review

Sacred Trinity Church, Salford
5 December 2013

Sacred Trinity was the first church in Salford. Nestled a stone’s throw from Manchester city centre and a short walk from the Arena, it’s a beautiful Grade 2 listed building built in 1635 as a chapel of ease. Restored in the 1870’s, much of the building dates from 1752 but had more work done as recently as the 1980’s when it was given a new lease of life for varying events which included music concerts. One of its claims to fame is that the inventor of the sport of Rugby, William Webb Ellis, was christened there.

I’ve just had my first visit to the church, to see the incredible talent of Phildel. She was supported by local lass Rachel Hillary (and “best friend” on mandolin), a twenty six year old Mancunian playing a unique blend of Irish folk music and Beat poetry, and a voice that is both individual and very palatable. With only five songs, she left the mic leaving a lasting impression and the feeling that we’ll be hearing from her again.

Sitting on pews in front of the Church pulpit the audience which ranged widely in age gave a rapturous welcome to Phildel before she even spoken a word. Dressed in a lengthy sweeping dress with her almost as long hair falling around her waist, she opened with the title track from this year’s The Disappearance Of The Girl album. It was faultless. Backed by partner Chris Young on keyboards (and Apple Mac) with Adam (drums) and Luca (viola), not only was her voice on fine form but the band were also superb.


Taking us through the album and also the newly released The Glass Ghost EP, Phildel remained interactive with the audience to their obvious delight, but that voice is something quite unbelievable. In many ways it was ironic that she was playing in a Church, because if ever I heard one, she has the voice of an angel.

She dedicated The Wolf to her religious fundamentalist stepfather who was responsible for her restricted upbringing, and Funeral Bell brought tears to eyes following the explanation that it was written following two nervous breakdowns – “Oh, Mother I’m scared to die….Oh, Father I’m scared to live”.

There were no special effects, no flashing lights, just music and a voice in a Church.

Am I biased about Phildel? Yes, maybe, but with justification. At Salford we witnessed someone who you will hear much much more of, and we will proudly be able to say that “we were there”.


The Phildel website is here and you can follow her on Twitter here and Facebook here.

The Rachel Hillary website is here. You can follow her on Twitter here and Facebook here.

All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found here. Paul’s website is hiapop Blog. Paul is working hard to save Radio Lancashire’s On The Wire, the BBCs longest running alternative music programme. Follow him on twitter as @saveonthewire for all On The Wire news or follow hiapop Blog on Twitter, @hiapop.

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Born and bred in Lancashire, currently residing in the Rossendale Valley. Everything deserves one listen, but, not necessarily a second. Only (ex-Community) DJ to ever play Nat ‘King’Cole followed by Nine Inch Nails, and, eat Fish and Chips live on air.


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