Here's a little something I prepared earlier, a review of the band Chapel Club who I went to see at Talking Heads last Tuesday.
I may use it as part of my music journalism portfolio if my beloved tutor Charles likes it.
The 1990’s may have been the decade to bring indie into the mainstream, but the noughties are proving to be hurling more bands our way than ever before. The Killers, Modest Mouse, Vampire Weekend, Two Door Cinema Club, Foals...festival organisers can barely keep up with what now seems to be a weekly emergence as they roll around in the piles of money they’ve made from thousands of fans flocking to see their favourite new bands.
Formed in 2008, Chapel Club have already been named as Zane Lowe’s ‘Hottest Record in the World’ and were tipped as one of NME’s exciting new prospects for 2010. In September of last year they played alongside The Joy Formidable on the NME Emerge Radar Tour, impressing reviewers and sealing their status as one of that years most exciting new acts.
But despite this, an appearance on Later with Jools Holland and MTV’s Gonzo with Alexa Chung, Chapel Club have remained under the radar of most indie kids and their i-Pods. Is the current music scene just too saturated with moody lads wailing morosely into microphones to take another very moody lad and his wailing?
Talking Heads is, to put it politely, a bit of a dump. It’s grotty, smells like a combination of sweaty feet and ripe vomit, yet serves ridiculously overpriced drinks. In a vain attempt to brighten up the decor, some form of Arabian carpet has been strung up on the ceiling, giving the venue the appearance of a low-budget circus tent.
Despite this, the crowd are in good spirits. There is an eclectic mix, from students to teachers (I had the pleasure of bumping into one of my lecturers, who kindly introduced me to the whole family), music-lovers to slightly confused looking middle-age men, clutching their pints and muttering how it isn’t usually this busy.
Casablancas were the first support act, a four piece with the combined age of about forty, each sporting a variation of the Bieber cut. Surprisingly gloomy, there was no mistaking them for Justin once they started playing, much to the apparent dismay of some female teenage revellers.
They were followed by David’s Lyre, who may as well have been named the Misfits due to the ridiculously mismatched appearance of each member, who all looked like they belonged to different groups, eras even. They were decidedly more upbeat that their predecessors, but this may have just been due to the most ridiculous displays of dancing? (I’m not sure it can really be defined as this, Beyonce definitely wouldn’t approve) ever witnessed upon a stage. The singer swayed as though hypnotised, his eyes rolling so far back in their head it was unsure as to whether he was still conscious or not. The bassist appeared to be having convulsions throughout, clearly this five-piece were not taking good enough care of their health.
A short interlude, during which the tiny room became packed, drinks in plastic cups slosh everywhere as a festival-style mood settles over the crowd. The lights dim, the audience hold their breaths, drinks remain firmly in vessels, and on come the band.
Lead singer Lewis Bowman has gained himself a reputation as a bit of a diva. In other words, a stroppy, arrogant, Liam Gallagher wannabe bastard. As he struts onto the stage, hood up like he’s just too cool to care that he’s indoors, it’s easy to see why.
His dark, wide eyes glare at the audience, teamed with his shaven head it projects a skeletal appearance that would most likely frighten young children. With a defiant nod of the head, the band launch into their first recorded single, Surfacing. Reminiscent of White Lies first album with its harrowing riffs and morose tones, the audience sway along, hypnotized by those all-seeing eyes.
They then move on to more upbeat territory with White Knight Position, which has the audience break out of the hypnosis to jostle about in the packed room. They follow with Blind, Roads, and Fine Lights, and the crowd seems to lose interest and energy as each song is reminiscent of the last. But then comes former iTunes single of the week Oh Maybe I, which sees the sombre tone lift and Bowman’s vocals seem fresher, and more energised. Dancing resumes, and spirits are lifted by a taste of something new.
Fans are then treated to a track from their EP Wintering, which they released at the end of last year and was exclusively available to attendees of their one-off show at Salford’s St. Phillips Church. This haunting love song is one of their finest numbers and for those who hadn’t heard it before was instantly a favourite.
After Paper Thin, another tale of woeful love, the audience are treated to the band’s most well known track, All of the Eastern Girls. The song was Q websites ‘Track of the Day’ in September 2010 and injected the crowd with new vigour, as fans sang along in earnest and the rest jumped in time to the beat.
This is followed by another popular release, Five Trees. Clearly a favourite amongst followers of the band, this was met with raucous applause from the audience; one devotee in particular had great trouble keeping his drink from dowsing him and fearful neighbours as he bounded up and down like Tigger on acid.
To close, Lewis Bowman’s favourite song from the album, The Shore. Worthy of Zane Lowe and the NME’s praise, Chapel Club finish the show on a suitably doleful tone. Cheerless though it may be, the applause is not held back as Bowman takes a bow and strides off into the night.
The Killers, Modest Mouse, Vampire Weekend, Foals...and now, Chapel Club? I don’t doubt it.