Union Chapel, Islington
It’s difficult to call the Daylight Music events at Union Chapel in Islington a hidden gem as when you walk up to the doors at noon on a Saturday, the queue of people is already stretching down Compton Terrace.
Even for a heathen child like me, the Union Chapel is a supremely relaxing and safe place to hide from the hustle and bustle of London on a Saturday afternoon.
This particular event had been created by Emily Barker and its theme was collaboration which meant the acts chopped and changed instruments and shared the spotlight when playing their songs. On a recent Afterword podcast, our guest Kathryn Williams, talked about how she had opened herself up to collaboration, how it effected her songwriting and many of today’s artists had met at one of Kathryn’s writers’ retreats.
I’ll just pick a few highlights from the 2 hours of warm, embracing music – Sylvie Lewis’ imaginative idea of selling ‘A Cup Of Songs’ a hand crafted mug which gives the purchaser access to a folder of songs from Sylvie on the interweb. The track ‘If Tears Were Like Diamonds’ that she played set the tone for the afternoon perfectly with a gentle deep vibration that both soothed and moved the listener.
Ren Harvieu and Romeo Stodart admitted that they weren’t used to daylight in general but they gave us a song so fresh that even sister Michele hadn’t heard it before. ‘My Little Raven’ a song about depression and trying to gain understanding and appreciation of how tough life can be. The pair are due to go into the studio soon to put down these songs so I hope that particular one which hit pretty deep makes the cut.
Talking of unreleased songs that I loved from the moment I heard them, Michele Stodart’s set opened with ‘Tell Me’ which she wrote & first played at one of the aforementioned writing retreats. Michele made one of my favourite albums of 2016, possibly only 2nd to Bowie’s ‘Blackstar’, and live, she, if you’ll excuse the technical term, emotes the fuck out of her material.
The final section featuring Adem at the fore of the group was perhaps the most intriguing as it really showed the beauty of these spontaneous and dare I say it, under-rehearsed collaborations. It gave the songs a freshness and energy that would not have been there if it had been practiced to gain precision and perfection.
Adem had to be schooled before the show on how to play the Chapel’s organ, forgetting his tutor’s advice (that teacher being @hannah of this parish) to take his shoes off, but the sound created by musicians perhaps outside their comfort ones was hypnotic. I have rarely seen a xylophone player display the levels of sheer concentration that Michele gave throughout. It would be remiss of me to mention the role of bass player Lukas Drinkwater adding a depth an colour to all of the songs performed.
Summed up perhaps by Adem’s ‘These Are Your Friends’ it really was a great example of people getting together and doing what they feel. I have attended quite a few Daylight Music events but this one shot straight to the top of my experiences there.
You’d be happy to pay six or eight times the suggested £5 donation to gain entry to see a show as good as this. So don’t just lie in bed on a Saturday watching Netflix (not a euphemism), get out and live.
The audiences you get at these events are terribly well behaved, whether through hangover, tiredness or good old fashioned politeness. Families are welcome but everyone of all ages sat in rapt attention
It made me think..
The Daylight Music Youtube Channel is yay close to getting a proper web address if a handful more people subscribe so please do so. They have videos from each of their events so you can get an idea of the wide range of music they present all year round.