Parker’s Band at the Islington
When there are almost as many people on the stage as there are in the audience, it’s clear that it’s not going to be a boring show. With two pianists, a brass section, drums, bass, guitar and several members sharing vocal duties, Parker’s Band provide a sonic landscape to be reckoned with.
“This is our fist ever gig,” admits the eponymous Owen Parker, before – almost as if by pure chance – the stage suffers a power cut. After a few fumbled moments and some quips from some of the musicians, the gig is back up and running again. They begin with the lead single from their new album, If I Had a Therapist, and it bears repeating. It’s a great example of what the band do best: lush, emotive and often epic songs filled with witty turns of phrase and intelligent, insightful lyrics. Other tracks such as You’re Not Invited to My Wedding Anymore and The Best Umbrella follow a similar vein, taking a sideways and tongue-in-cheek approach to serious subjects – without ever being crass or overly simplistic.
Owen Parker has been hiding in the shadows of many successful hits, including tunes by Girls Aloud, Pet Shop Boys and Fleetwood Mac alumni Peter Green. This shines through clearly in the songs performed tonight; each track is intricately crafted and delicate, but with the kind of pop sensibility that avoids alienation and makes those tugs on the heartstrings just that little bit more effective.
This isn’t music to dance to. There are no big beats or catchy hooks but it is music that makes the listener feel like they’re wandering the corridors of a French hotel, or strolling through the windswept sand dunes on a beach in Tuscany. It’s rare that a collection of songs this emotive and honest comes along, and it’s even rarer to see them being performed in a room with only space for 50 people. It’s also unclear how often this raggle-taggle group of troubadours will be performing, so it’s probably best to catch them whilst there’s still a chance.
Photo: Erol Birsen
For further information and future events visit the Parker’s Band website here.
Watch the video for If I Had a Therapist here: