Theodore at Union Chapel
Union Chapel is about as inspirational as it’s possible for a building to be: a Grade I-listed Gothic architectural wonder, working church, homeless shelter and events venue – it would be difficult to find a more motivating place than this. And it shows.
The atmosphere’s effect on performers and audience alike is tangible; there’s a reverence and a sense of awe that you don’t find in other gigs. It’s almost like the marvel of religious devotion is being funnelled into the concert. There’s something entirely sublime about the performance.
The venue is completely seated, which feels unusual at first for a gig but it soon becomes evident how well the set-up works. The audience sways slightly, but ultimately is so absorbed in the act that movement is not necessary. The lights only add to the emotions, blue and white beams flicker, illuminating in turn all the nooks and crannies of this magnificent 19th century building.
Theodore and the band run through his new album It Is But It Isn’t. The music is a collaboration of styles, with a range of influences from classical to ethereal, pop to post-rock. The sound is potent – the way it’s cut together feels like a film score with songs like Spiral and 7.APXH showing the true brilliance of the artist. Entering the venue evokes the sense that even a xylophone would be breathtaking in here, and Walk features just that, played with such dedicated precision, the crowd all seem to be biting their lips in anticipation. The set lasts slightly under an hour. The accomplishment of eliciting such a range of emotions from an audience in such a concentrated period is startling.
That Theodore doesn’t speak much doesn’t matter – it’s not necessary here. He’s clearly engrossed by the music, and never is this more obvious than in their last song Eclipse. He pulsates backwards and forwards performing the closing number, nearly knocking over the mic-stand several times. The epic seven-minute cacophony of clashing drums and crying vocals rises to a crescendo finale and the concert is over.
The audience walks out in wonderment, unable to understand how half a dozen people could possibly have just emulated an entire orchestra.
Photos: Guifré de Peray
For further information about Theodore and future events visit here.
Watch a live video of One-Two here: