Stand Up to Cancer Live 2020 brings White Lies, Kitt Philippa and more together for an uplifting show at Union Chapel
Annual charity event Stand Up to Cancer returns this year to the exquisite Union Chapel, with a host of acts headlined by London trio White Lies.
Most of us have lost someone to the disease and 1 in 2 people will have cancer at some point in their lives, the sobering facts a reminder to dig deep and help this cause.
Belfast-based Kitt Philippa plays a minimalist set, starting with You from her debut album Human. Parallels with London Grammar can be drawn, though Philippa’s live sound is less electronic, more acoustically driven, much like the rest of the supporting acts tonight. Not only is she an organ scholar, but having mastered the piano, guitar, clarinet and surprisingly, the bicycle wheel, Philippa’s stripped-back sound promises competence and potential as a musician to watch.
17-year-old Aaron Smith has been compared to the likes of Lewis Capaldi, and it is easy to see why. Both singers hail from Scotland, and write melodies infused with heartfelt lyrics. Smith’s vocals are earnest, Better Man inducing shivers while Unspoken also tells of failed relationships. Smith proves he can hold his own with minimal stage setup.
Surprise guest Marika Hackman plays a short set, including Wanderlust from Any Human Friend, beautifully atmospheric. Another multi-instrumentalist, she is known for her dark lyrics, as she dryly confesses, “I’m here to play some miserable songs.” Apple Tree is the highlight, with medieval undertones, while Claude’s Girl, a homage to Debussy’s Girl with the Flaxen Hair, is a reminder of Hackman’s calming songwriting abilities.
Benjamin Francis Leftwich is a lovely presence on stage, Tilikum sweeping the crowd’s consciousness into a deep reverie, the singer’s soft strumming echoing through the chapel. Amidst his other self-reflective tracks, Leftwich dedicates Maps to his departed father, who died from cancer – a beautiful tribute.
Two musicians join Maisie Peters on stage, with a keyboard and electric guitar, also providing backing vocals. This is on You is a pop banger, relatable for a teenage audience, while Worst of You can best be described as “emo girl pop”, in the singer’s own words. Peters’s vocals are subtle yet imbued with a saccharine streak, reminiscent of Kate Nash in some instances, and displaying the easy accessibility of her music.
White Lies’s Harry McVeigh smiles charismatically, the indie rockers playing a euphoric set. Opening with highlight Swing, backed by the deep grooves of the synthesizer, the trio follow up with Unfinished Business and Death, also great crowd pleasers, the latter an exultant kick to cancer.
The show is an emotional rollercoaster, and one which leaves you ultimately feeling stronger, the take-home message being: live life to the full, however dark times may become.
Photos: Virginie Viche
For further information and future events visit Stand Up to Cancer’s website here.
Watch the video for Death here: