Chapel Club at St Pancras Old Church
Chapel Club went through a bit of a reinvention with this year’s Good Together. Gone were the gloomy, post-punk trappings of their debut Palace, and in their place was a shiny synth-pop bounce. It was a move that may have alienated some fans, but it was clear the band felt more at home with their new direction (they’ve since termed Palace “unsubtle and unsurprising”). So while a few older cuts did make an appearance, last night’s set at St Pancras Old Church was very much Chapel Club 2.0.
The five-piece, dressed in an unassuming uniform of black shirts and trousers, filled the space with a winning swirl of synthesisers and Hurts-like 80s nostalgia. The opening number Sleep Alone set the tone with its start-stop electro pulses and echoing drums underpinning Lew Bowman’s mewing vocals. Bowman is a singer of impressive range, no more ably demonstrated than on the next song, Wordy. The verses passed by at a conversational pace, before he went full falsetto on the chorus. It was like Frankie Valli backed by Soft Cell.
St Pancras Old Church perhaps wasn’t the greatest space for the band in terms of acoustics. Its echoing confines are well suited to piano-playing singer-songwriters, imbuing tinkling ivories with a Spectorish majesty, but a full on assault of drums, keyboards and bass tends to become rather murky. The snare drum was the only instrument that could consistently be picked out from the swamp. As a result, the band’s older numbers actually ended up sounding more sonically impressive; with their heavy bass-lines and washes of guitar, All the Eastern Girls and The Shore were transformed into shoe-gaze dreamscapes by the church’s natural reverb. Conversely, the clean-cut and precise Shy from Good Together was rendered rather indistinct. Bowman’s between-song chatter was similarly indecipherable.
Still, it was an enjoyable show from a band in the middle of a radical transformation. The old and new balanced themselves well enough, and the crowd appeared more than happy with Chapel Club’s electronic conversion.
Photos: Emre Zengin
For further information and future events visit Chapel Club’s website here.
Watch the video for Good Together here: