|Little Noise Sessions - Islington, Union Chapel - 20th November 2009|
|Written by Matt Phelps|
|Wednesday, 02 December 2009 13:58|
Friday night in London, I'm sure there are many people in the city knee deep in some act of debauchery or another but for myself and several hundred others it's a quiet evening in church that's on the cards. The Church in question being the 19th century Union Chapel in Islington. Mencap's Little Noise Sessions (a nine night run of low key, stripped down acoustic shows by both big names and new emerging talent) have been held here for the last three years and return this year for a fourth with a first; it's first full "rock night."
The King Blues open their set with frontman Itch performing a spoken word poem before being joined by the rest of the band and throwing out their 2008 hit 'My Boulder.' Itch also plays ukulele as well as handling vocals and when he sings the line "Kiss me underneath this lamp post" it really is difficult to think anything other than "Which lamp post? The one you're leaning on?" Oh yes, George Formby would be proud indeed to see how he's influenced today's ska folk generation. Fully expecting the next song to revolve around cleaning windows, it's a more than pleasent surprise to get a cracking cover of Billy Bragg's 'A New England' as the penultimate track before the parting shot of 'Save The World, Get The Girl.'
A "world premiere" for the second song as Ian introduces 'Dirty Little Heart' from the forthcoming album. 'Can't Catch Tomorrow' lines up third with the acoustics and brushes giving it an altogether jazz feel with its upbeat swing and snappy vocals. The loudest cheer of the night so far as Lee starts off 'Rooftops' with just him and Ian performing this one together but with somebacking vocals from Jamie. Following that the rest of the band return to the stage with some new backing singers in tow and, being Welsh, they've obviously not gone for the norm but have brought a full male voice choir with them. After a solo outing from the choir threatening to put the boys to shame they join forces for another new one, namely 'Where We Belong' before playing the lead single from 'The Betrayed', 'It's Not The End Of The World (But I Can See It From Here).
With the end of the show fast approaching it's time for the Prophets to also play their cover card, opting for a song Ian says they have long wanted to cover but never got round to before -'Rooster' by Alice In Chains is, by far, the surprise of the night and a welcome one from a band still clearly fans of the music they grew up with and love. Save the best 'til last they say and the final song of the night is "The last song on the new album". On the set list as 'You' but listed on the album as 'The Light That Burns Twice As Bright', either way whatever it's called Ian describes it as what he thinks is the best thing they've ever done. A slow burner ballad not too unlike 'Sway' but with a grand crescendo topping off the rise in emotion eminating from all on the stage complete with the choir. Finishing well past their curfew Ian thanks everyone for coming even though the tickets were "a bit pricey", but with the quality of the the perfomances here tonight it seemed more like bargain of the century.