Airbridge

30 years of British progressive rock

About

The original line-up of the1980s British progressive rock band Airbridge, consisted of Lorenzo Bedini (guitar, keyboard, vocals), Sean Godfrey (bass, vocals) and David Beckett (drums.) The band was later augmented by Edward Percival (guitar, keyboard, vocals) and went on to record their seminal album “Paradise Moves” released in 1982.

After a period of intensive gigging, the line-up was extended to include Stephen James J. Bennett (keyboards) and the band released a single “Words & Pictures” that was praised by John Peel (Radio 1) and selected by the author Malcolm Bradbury as one of his choices on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs (http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/desert-island-discs/castaway/3a33c755).

The band toured the UK extensively, playing in many of the same venues as groups such as Marillion and Pallas – including several sell-out gigs at London’s legendary Marquee club in Wardour Street.

The line-up changed again in late 1983 following Bedini’s (and then Bennett’s) departure and the introduction of Geoff Chamberlain on guitars. Airbridge’s evolution progressed via the recording of a second (unreleased) album, “Beyond the Veil”, before the band’s long hiatus, with members moving on to new musical fields.

Airbridge remained in the pairing of Bedini and Godfrey who, after some years apart, began collaborating on new music in the late 90s. The band reformed in a gigging format in 2009, and the new line-up featured Lorenzo Bedini on guitar, guitar synth, keyboards, harmonica and vocals, Sean Godfrey on bass and vocals and Dave Dowdeswell-Allaway – who was previously the band’s live sound engineer and an early artistic collaborator – on drums, acoustic guitars and vocals.

Many of Bedini’s early songs included influences from such luminaries as Barclay James Harvest and Camel, but he soon developed his own voice. Later material, composed collaboratively by the band, was more influenced by mainstream progressive rock. Also in the mix are songs by Dave Dowdeswell-Allaway who, some say, has a voice similar to Pye Hastings (Caravan) but whose vocal phrasing is reminiscent of Nick Drake. The sound ranges in true prog style from heavy rock to folk/Celtic influenced songs with haunting melodies, driving rhythms, and all else in between.

Sadly, Sean Godfrey is having to manage his treatment for cancer and, consequently, has retired from bass playing. He will retain production input in the studio and the band will make use of his distinctive backing vocals. His replacement is Matt Gamble (Kett’s Oak, Madder Than The Inmates, Cold Shoulder, Rigby) who’s early 1980s jamming sessions with Dave Dowdeswell-Allaway left a strong impression. Matt was looking to better use his talents and feels that Airbridge will allow him the space to make use of his virtuoso playing ability whilst contributing to the development of the Airbridge sound.

The band has spent the last two years writing new material, a taster of which can be heard on their new EP which was released in the summer of 2013. ‘Return’ features four songs by Bedini and Dowdeswell-Allaway and an album of new material by Airbridge is planned for release in 2014 which will consist of music written by Bedini, Dowdeswell-Allaway, Godfrey and Gamble.