Wednesday, November 18

Little Noise @Union Chapel

. Wednesday, November 18

Silence can be so loud. The gentle hush adopted by the 500 lucky attendees of tonight’s first Little Noise Session of 2009 render parts of the bands performances almost painful to endure. Not until you have sat in a silent church as a room full of people stare stage wards intently do you know the true fear of sneezing. One wrong move could so easily garner the attention of the people performing on stage that the organisers decision to put those allocated press passes just one row from the front seem like a cruel trick.

Doing their best to fill the Holy walls first are Manchester newbies Everything Everything. Already in possession of three of 2009’s finest singles the future is bright for the band and they show a level of performance which belies their tender years. Where on record things are frantic and full in tonight’s performance the four piece are forced to strip things back to being almost nude. Accentuated by a string quintet courtesy of the Royal College of Music Everything, Everything become easier to investigate as each lyrical eccentricity and twist in their maze of harmony is left open. As a result songs like ‘Suffragette, Suffragette’ and ‘Photoshop Handsome’ take on a new dimension and become more reminiscent of Field Music- a group who must loom at large in these four boys record collections. Of all the bands on show tonight it’s surprising that the most inexperienced are the ones who rise to the challenge the most.

Bombay Bicycle Club have had a stop, start year and could perhaps feel aggrieved that they have not scaled greater heights such is the quality of their debut album. This performance is something of a revelation tonight however as the band seem better suited to the acoustic troubadour style than they do trying to fit their square peg into the round hole of indie-rock. Lead singer Jack Steadman looks particularly at ease and has the jerky teenage introspection of a young Conor Oberst nailed down. It’s often remarked how young Bombay Bicycle Club are but it is tonight made obvious by the introduction of guitarist Jamie MacColl’s Dad Neil playing banjo for the band. A veteran folk performer Neil has made music with Kathryn Williams in the past and tonight he rather amusingly makes the band look like a man called Mumford out with his Sons. The addition of the banjo (Of all the instruments to make a comeback eh?) and vocalist Lucy Rose make songs such as ‘Evening/ Morning’ and a stunning rendition of ‘The Giantess’ feel that much more accomplished. The band inject a youthful blast of vigour into the gig too when they play ‘Always Like This’ which sees the cagey atmosphere rapidly erode as a clap along ensues as the band truly find their comfortable niche.

At the halfway point ‘Gavin and Stacey’ star Mat Horne takes to the stage. Tonight’s show and the subsequent week’s gigs are in aid of the charity Mencap and along with curator Jo Whiley, Horne is here to compere the show. Something of an official groupie for the band Horne warms the stage for The Maccabees who take to the stage to loud screams from posh looking girls with big hair and warm applause from everyone else. The Maccabees have had an amazing year and to see the band play in such a small venue shortly after they headlined the Brixton Academy on their recent UK tour marks this show out as an occasion as opposed to a gig. The band play through semi-acoustic versions of much of their stunning 'Wall Of Arms’ album including particularly sweet renditions of ‘Bag Of Bones’ and ‘Dinosaurs’. All of the bands on tonight’s bill boast singers with a fine set of pipes but none more so than those encased in the throat of Orlando from The Maccabees. His sweet and tender croon speaks of love and heartbreak beautifully and as he and his band of brothers blast through the triumphant ‘Can You Give It’ the only regret is that the band can’t stay on stage longer.

Jo Whiley tells the crowd that Editors were the very first band to sign up to play Little Noise this year which is something of a surprise given at times they look comically under prepared. The responsibility falls on the shoulders of singer Tom Smith who at various points forgets his lyrics, plays wrong introductions and misses his band mates cues to begin. It is far from a disaster however as the collective will of the audience spur the band on to an ultimately successful set. Now three albums into their career the group can pick and choose from across the board of their back catalogue however they kick things off by heavily leaning on new album ‘In This Light and On This Evening’. For an album that has garnered so much attention for it’s electronic machinations the songs melt nicely into the acoustic guitars and grand pianos the group use to play them tonight. ‘You Don’t Know Love’ and the silly of title, excellent of hook ‘Raw Meat= Blood Drool’ show the strength of Smith’s songwriting whilst a rare outing of ‘No Sound But The Wind’ is a treat for fans of the Twilight soundtrack. Older material is visited later on including a cavernous ‘Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors’ and first album cut ‘Distance’ which goes from being a so-so filler track to a stand out slice of beauty. It doesn’t all work however as the band ruin ‘Papillon’ by stripping it of its driving energy and replacing it with navel gazing mundanity. The set ends with a rally though as a frantic ‘Fingers In The Factory’ sends the crowd off into the night nicely.

Everything Everything- 8/10
Bombay Bicycle Club- 7/10
The Maccabees- 8/10
Editors- 7/10



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