Review: Au Revoir Simone at Union Chapel

Beautiful Union Chapel. Love that place. First it was CallMeKat. I got my pew a few rows back and perched on the end. It was pretty chilly. 

Alessi played second, she played with her band. She opened with Witch and they played The Robot, Bird Song, Over The Hill, The Horse, The Dog, Woman and Asteroids Collide. It was a funny one. I’ve seen Alessi more than any other band, I think she’s wonderful and amazing. She’s been more consistently brilliant than anyone else I’ve seen. I don’t have a favourite time I’ve seen her, because I love every time I see her play. Something was a little off this particular eve, and Alessi felt it too. Nevermind, I say! Even though Bird Song wasn’t meant to be that evening, it’s probably the most incredible song that will find its way to your ears in this second half of the year. And her performance of Woman was beautiful. 

Au Revoir Simone o’clock! I saw them 3 years ago for the first time, and earlier this year in May and then July. I don’t believe five months has passed since their Bush Hall show. The three piece seem so genuinely grateful and appreciative of the audience, it’s completely endearing and so sweet. Forward thinking-me, I took notes on what they played(!).

They opened with All Or Nothing from their latest record Still Night, Still Light. I wondered how the acoustics would work for the keyboard trio, but they worked fantastically. Au Revoir Simone can be pretty rockin’ at times. They played Sad Song, Anywhere You Looked and, current single, Shadows. The use of the piano was employed on oldie Stay Golden, from their brilliant record Verses of Comfort, Assurance and Salvation. It was brilliant. They went into another old one, Through The Backyards Of Our Neighbors.

Take Me As I Am is my favourite from the new record, it’s so wonderfully beautiful in its sentiment. Erika took to the piano and Annie led the way with her egg shaker and foot stomping. After the song Erika remarked “I’ve never been able to do that in so many octaves!”. I love that song. They did Trace A Line, Only You Can Make You Happy, Knight of Wands and finally, Tell Me. Tell Me once again employed use of the piano and was actually pretty loud (they kept joking about the 85db sound limit). They left the stage to huge cheers, they really were fantastic.

They returned and played a couple of Bird Of Music songs. First, Lucky One. It didn’t quite inspire the giant sing along that it should have, and Annie noted this, adding ‘I feel like I can start making fun of you now. That’s how I show my friends I like them’. To avoid an anti climatic finish they played Dark Halls. They were clearly having so much fun and kept thanking the crowd. Heather started off the drum beat and Erika ran away and climbed atop the (pretty high) pulpit to play tambo. Heather and Annie couldn’t help but laugh. It was all so charming and wonderful, and you could tell they felt they had just given a special performance, and the crowd felt it too. Lovely. 


, ,

2 Responses to Review: Au Revoir Simone at Union Chapel

  1. at_the_sea October 3, 2009 at 7:30 pm #

    Another fantastic Union Chapel evening!

    Would agree that Alessi seemed a little under the weather at times last night but thought she finished the set really strongly after the problems with “Bird Song”. I’ll have to catch her again soon when she has less snot ;-) Would love to have heard “Hummingbird” too as that’s the song that first switched me on to her music when it was a free mp3 on Amazon. T-shirts for a fiver though, a super bargain :-)

    Though Au Revoir Simone were stunning, and the fact that they were clearly having such a fantastic time made it all the much sweeter. Am now swiftly filling the gaps in my ARS collection *snigger*

    Jeremy :-)

  2. Gag Halfrunt October 7, 2009 at 12:17 pm #

    I was there too, my first visit to the Union Chapel. I brought a friend from work who’s into rock (but not prog) and electronic music. Unfortunately we arrived too late to get a space in the pews near the front, but I still enjoyed the atmosphere, especially the lighting.

    Au Revoir Simone sounded great too, and their set was over too soon. :) The first times I heard them live (at Pure Groove and Proud Camden) the beatboxes drowned out everything else, but this time I could properly feel the contrast between their delicate vocals and the driving rhythms. I was struck by how different ARS’s songs can sound with the percussion turned up, compared to the studio versions. Do people ever dance at ARS gigs? :)

    I said hi to Annie and Erika after the show, but alas I was too sleepy to say anything of consequence. But I had the chance to introduce my friend to Erika, and he remarked (much better than I could have) about what a wonderful venue the Chapel is. He was pretty impressed with ARS, but he didn’t buy any CDs. And, after hearing the samples, I now regret not picking up that copy of The Bird of Music…

Leave a Reply