“That was meant to be ‘Sleep Alone’,” says frontman Lewis Bowman, following a slight hiccup, before trailing into a short-lived Q&A session with members of tonight’s crowd. Bowman leaves the stage while the rest of the band manage to overcome the early technical issues. But the set is, thankfully, recovered by fan favourite ‘Surfacing’, modified to match the outfit’s new direction: trading the My Bloody Valentine-esque guitars that led debut album ‘Palace’, for an uplifting analogue synth element. A sound that seems tailored to perfection for Brixton’s Plan B, a venue furnished with more glistening disco-balls than the Bee Gees’ collective videography. But above all, tonight’s gig provides a chance to see Bowman’s alcohol induced confidence, straying away from the mystique of the shadowy singer that presented the band’s earlier days.
Chapel Club plough through new tracks such as the previously revealed ‘Jenny Baby’ and jubilant ‘Scared’, which open tonight’s set. Fresher glimmers of the band’s more recent work such as ‘Wordy’ and ‘Fruit Machine’ provided a whole new falsetto element, as opposed to the baritone croon of previous singles. Although a great deal of new offerings are showcased, tracks such as a tightened version of ‘All The Eastern Girls’ and ‘Shy’ delivered a comforting notion of familiarity.
Drawing to a finale of grateful remarks from the band, they play an emphatic version of their latest single and the title track to their second album – ‘Good Together’. A ten-minute hook laden track of grand proportions, that wouldn’t have seemed out of place during the dawning of the 1990s. Incorporating elements of acts including Hot Chip and George Michael at their most dance-floor friendly, they build tropical sounding samples and loops to reach a vivacious climax to provide, arguably, the most impressive song that the band has unveiled, thus far.
It’s clear to see that Chapel Club’s distinct change in style has split fans, as well as gaining a whole bunch of new followers with the emotive bouts of synth fuelled euphoria that the band have been emitting with their latest material. They seem certain to prove themselves with ‘Good Together’, to a standard even more impressive than 2011’s ‘Palace’. And with the impending summer release, we hope to hear much more from the London quintet.
Words by Jonathan Hatchman
Photos by Helen F. Kennedy