Sunday, 20 December 2009

all hail: union chapel

the end of a decade.

a decade that gave us not the Oasis vs Blur intensity of the 90s, but the evolution of Radiohead, the embarrassment of nu-metal and the digital music revolution, which probably did more for intelligent debate, legislation and piracy than two Mancunians and some art school indie kids ever did. shame about Linkin Park though.

and so it is, at the end of this decade, i find my final gig of the year to be Islington's Union Chapel, an 800+ capacity venue and fully-functioning place of worship, albeit one with a fully functioning bar on the first floor. how i got here, i'm still not entirely sure. i know who i have to thank (one Frank Turner, to start with), but the connections and chance encounters that took the me of December 19th, 1999 to the point of stepping onto the stage of one of London's most aesthetically-pleasing and acoustically-brilliant venues ten years later is mind-boggling.

but here i am, and this is how it's happened.

of course, it nearly didn't happen at all. rolling up to the venue at 5pm as instructed to run through the group finale that was 'Last Christmas', it is soon apparent that our headliner tonight is stuck with the Eurostar in Paris. Calais is 'broken' too, and so we leave him booking himself onto a last-minute, probably-really-expensive flight to Heathrow and possibly, probably, perhaps making the venue on time for tonight's show. maybe.

not that this dampened spirits much - a warm crowd, a venue that prefers tea to alcohol and good company on the bill (Mr Adam Killip of The Tailors, Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo and, of course, Chris T-T) meant this show was destined only to succeed, and despite any nervousness in the days leading up to this event (and trust me, dear reader, there was a lot - ask just about anyone i spoke to in the preceding week), the chaos that greeted me upon arrival and ensued right up until my stage time made me feel strangely at home.

i sign records, catch up with friends and wait for Turner, who eventually bundles himself through the back door at 9.20pm and takes to the stage five minutes later, and apologies to the guy who tried to initiate conversation with me at the merch table over my release plans for 2010 only for me to be distracted about a sentence into my reply and, by the time i had finished tending to matters, he was nowhere to be seen. apologies, Well Meaning Fellow.

and so, post-show, we hit the bar to the clicking of cameras - mostly Jay Newton's, my guest of honour for this evening and owner of one disposable camera, Jay himself having inherited his spot from someone who shall remain nameless herein, but who passed up the opportunity to attend this most excellent show for gratis in order to go to some christmas fancy dress party. with a Star Wars theme.

fuck you, Star Wars.

to 2010. x

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