Union Chapel, Islington, London
Saturday, 17th October 2015
I have never attended one of the ‘Daylight Music’ concerts held at the Union Chapel before, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from these rather unique Saturday performances, held between 12:00 and 2:00pm throughout the year. The concerts themselves are free, however they do rely (actively encourage) a donation which goes to the running costs and expenses for the bands. And rightly so…
“These wonderfully eclectic mini-gigs bring together amazing music, a magical, friendly atmosphere and homemade cakes in one of London’s finest venues.”
My first ‘Daylight Music’ concert was a well attended affair with an interesting make up of audience, ranging from progressive rock fans and the music of Cardiacs in particular for this show – along with families, children and yummy mummies. Of course all this in the unique and beautiful setting of the Union Chapel. This particular concert went under the rather unique title of a ‘Triple Bill of Bills’, named after the three performers; Bill Botting, Bill Pritchard and concluding with William D. Drake (Bill). The concert started at 12:00 noon with Bill Botting, however I arrived later than I would have wished and was unable to witness Botting’s performance, a shame as from what I can gather he was highly enjoyable.
The second Bill (Pritchard) came on stage around 12:40, and raised an immediate smile as he commented that it was almost as cold here as it was in his home town of Stoke-on-Trent. Bill was accompanied by an excellent acoustic guitarist, Mike Rhead, together performing tracks from across Bill’s career, but perhaps not surprisingly, a fair selection from last year’s A Trip To The Coast album – Almerend Road, Truly Blue and Polly. Also aired were tracks from earlier in Bill’s career, with a version of Romance Sans Paroles from Three Months, Three Weeks & Two Days (1989) and Angelique from the Tommy & Co EP. I could tell that the audience thoroughly enjoyed Bill’s set, as he played some memorable and infectious songs, finishing with Leonard Cohen’s I’m Your Man.
Speaking of the concert Bill said: “For me it was the most enjoyable Saturday lunchtime I have spent in a long time. The other two Bills were fab, the mix of the audience refreshing and sound quality sublime! Roll on another triple Bill.”
By way of an interlude and before the final Bill the Union Chapel organist played a version of Bungalow Bill by the Beatles, with a subtle twist which I have to say sounded fantastic. Concluding the triple bill of Bills was of course William (Bill) D. Drake who came on stage around 1:20 pm.
Not surprisingly one of the reasons why this particular Daylight Concert was so well attended was because of William D. Drake, who was a member of the popular, but somewhat under appreciated, Cardiacs. William played his entire set on a somewhat battered upright piano, sang all the vocals and was complimented by the unusual, but highly original, clarinet playing of the equally excellent Nicola Baigent. All the songs performed had that particular and uniquely humorous style that has made William so highly revered and that humour continued with an unusual rendition of The Teddybears’ Picnic (trad). I might add that throughout, the audience was in hoots of laughter and thoroughly enjoyed this unusual and refreshing way of spending a Saturday lunchtime.
Bill has just released an excellent album called Revere Reach, which I found original, clever and refreshing; he is a truly unique performer.
The audience thoroughly enjoyed this two hour event which had a family feel to it, the programme comprising three different and yet extremely talented artists as part of an on-going series. I will definitely visit again in the near future and have already booked tickets for the Caravan concert at the Union Chapel next March.