Chapel Club - St Philips Church Salford - 9.12.10

Never before has a band been so suited to playing in such elegant surroundings. Its almost like this very recent Manchester allure of gigs in places of worship has been building up to this moment of Chapel Club strumming that first chord in St Phillips. Its our first gig we've witnessed in a church, and previous visits to churches have been of the odd wedding and funeral variety, but there's those strange firsts a) 1st beer in the church b) Realizing it wouldn't be suitable to drop any on the floor and c) Dumbfounded that the boys queue to the toilets is 10 times longer than than the girls queue.

Designer Magazine first saw Chapel Club back in February of this year and declared them one of them bands that could save lives. A Smiths for the noughties or an Editors with feeling are also often muted, but tonight's audience is somewhat different from the Drowned In Sound fashionistas we saw in February. Next to us is what must be a 12yr old boy with his parents, behind us a friend of the bands from University walks about the Chapel Club dubstep remix he randomly heard at a party recently and a few rows behind that are a group you'd normally associate with being the sort of music fan who puts The Charlatans at V Festival as their best gig eva. Maybe just maybe Chapel Club are becoming more than a band for bedsits and a band for literally everybody.

Now some bands are perfectly suited to acoustic sets. Chapel Club probably aren't one of them as tonight's set doesn't so much explode but stutters for the first 3 semi acoustic tracks. Its not that this part of the set isn't it good, its just that its not the Chapel CLub we know and love with 20 million guitar effects and big almost-Spector-esque drums (something that with the natural reverb of the venue sounds even bigger tonight). "Five Trees" couldn't be further away from the recorded version, but it kind of works.

And almost as soon as the violins are away and the electric guitars are out the atmosphere changes. In less than 12 months the likes of "Surfacing", "All The Eastern Girls" and "O Maybe I" are already classics in the minds of everybody here tonight. Its just that the rest of the world hasn't caught on yet. Despite being below The Joy Formidable on the NME tour, while the headliners may inspire little more than a shimmy on the indie dancefloor, Chapel Club inspire a bookish devotion.

New tracks from the EP are revealed. "Roads" sound a lot more spacious than previous material, sounding not dissimilar to 90s fopstars Geneva. WHile "Widows" get its first live outing. Perhaps most surprising moment of the night has to go to an unexpected cover of Wham's "Last Christmas", although with the likes of the Manics doing it previous its the xmas cover for all with discerning taste.

After tonight's show in such elegant surroundings it will be a little disappointing to watch Chapel Club do the inevitable album tour in early 2011 in more conventional venues. For the couple of hundred here at tonight's show they've witnessed a very special show in the history of Chapel Club

Alex McCann

 


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