Wednesday 25 January 2012

Birdie at Union Chapel, Islington (London) on 21/01/2012

Islington's Union Chapel proved to be the perfect venue for Birdie's return to performing live with a swish new sound system and a sensitive soundman teaming up to produce a fittingly gentle, detailed sound that, thankfully, didn't rattle around in the old church.  Playing as a 3 piece - Debsey on bass and vocals, Paul on guitar (including some devastatingly pretty 12-string) and Jon on drums - they worked their way from 'Port Sunlight' , the b-side to their classic first single, to the tear duct teasing 'Sidewalk' in around 20 or so minutes.  Was it worth the 4 and a half hour train ride?  You bet it was!  Without doubt Debsey's voice is one of the most beautiful and affecting I've had the pleasure to hear.  At one point it cracked just a little which prompted her, mid-song, to say, "Sorry for my voice".  Now, if ever a singer did not need to apologise for their voice it's Debsey!  A combination of the lunchtime daylight streaming through the stained glass windows and being sat in the second row of pews afforded me the chance to catch all the little looks and smiles shared between the group.  The look on Debsey's face when she realised that she'd said a naughty word beginning with F in the House of The Lord was priceless.  Afterwards J said that some of what they had played reminded her a little of Luna.  It was an astute observation as without the keyboards and trumpets of the records it shared the hushed, simple elegance of that group's 'Bewitched' set.  Big thanks to the team behind The Hangover Lounge for making such a special thing happen.

Here's some footage shot by my friend @stringbeanjen who was sat immediately to my right.  We were pretty close to the PA so there's a little woolliness to the guitar but it captures more than a little of the loveliness of Debsey's vocals:

(...if life doesn't intervene to prevent it, I'll post some thoughts on the rest of the Lost Weekend in due course) 


  1. I think Debs was mortified at being so potty-mouthed because there were a lot of kids there (including her 7-year-old son)!

  2. Wow - I wish I could have caught that show - what a rare treat.