Review Archive

Fairport Convention at Union Chapel

(March 11, 2013)

A special night within the stunningly awesome Victorian Gothic interior of Islington’s unique Union Chapel – Saturday 9th March 2013 Fairport Convention played what can only be described as a local Union Chapelneighbourhood concert. Along with all the banter, humour and music that audiences everywhere have come to expect from these stalwarts of folk rock there was the added intimacy and superb acoustics of Union Chapel. It’s a venue where both artists and audience relax into an atmosphere that prompts a closeness that exists in few other venues.

As expected the set list ran through old favourites and the more recent -‘Sir Patrick Spens’, ‘Banks of Sweet Primroses’, 'Festival Bell' -  there was also of course, ‘Matty Groves’ and the perennial ‘Meet On The Ledge’. Fairport have an enviable relationship with their audience that remains equally at home on the field of Cropredy or in smaller venues like the Chapel. I for one thoroughly enjoy Peggy’s ramblings about the ‘celestial city' (nothing wrong with Brum mate!), Simon’s intros and stories (no, Alice Cooper is definitely not a ‘hot chick’ from the USA) and Ric Sanders groan-inducing jokes. Add to that the spectacular musicianship and superb songwriting skills of Chris Leslie and the rock solid work of Gerry Conway on drums. Everything just as it should be and all part of the lovable, definitive Fairport experience.

To complement Fairport there was faultless support from ‘Fake Thackray’ aka John Watterson who performs the songs of Jake Thackray. A talented guitarist, John’s lugubrious vocals fit Thackray’s songs to a tee and create a perfect tribute to a fine songwriter. John delivered a selection of Thackray’s satirical, irreverent, witty and refreshingly ‘un-PC’ songs, including gems such as ‘Bantam Cock’ and ‘On Again! On Again!’ and the audience loved it.

A word about Union Chapel: While I have your attention, although it’s a superb venue, Union Chapel is a working church and a centre for those homeless and in crisis in London. Sadly, the Chapel remains under threat from proposed housing developments and we risk losing a stunning live music venue and a key community asset. It also requires an ongoing restoration programme. If that concerns you then go here to offer your support:

Check out Union Chapel Events Listing: to see forthcoming gigs. Take my word for it, make time to go and experience Union Chapel – you’ll love it. And for Union Chapel ‘virgins’ don’t forget to take a cushion to sit on because the wooden pews can get a touch hard for the backside after a while.

Reviewer: Tim Carroll

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