Well, problem solved as the Spiritual Bar’s Raf Pesce (a former Ich Bin interviewee) presented last Friday’s “pop-up” evening of music in no less grandeur than St. Pancras Old Church. Yes, you did read that correctly: the historic building currently in need of funds once favoured by Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy and the Beatles. Pesce couldn’t, in fact, have picked a better spot for his soiree.
Is a memorable gig one where the band simply plays well? Or is it one which is unique? Either way, here, the décor and shadowy lighting added ambience, making us feel relaxed in what can sometimes be a cold environment. Each of the acts played a song, continually rotating with each other, a refreshing change from the well-worn thirty-five minute support slot. But it also added to the community feel of the night; there was no sense of competition, with all participants happy to be a part of something special.
Then there were the additional treats in the form of resident photographer Anna Orhanen springing from every corner (see main pic), Pesce and a film crew documenting the night for a forthcoming short film, and even a mime artist. Fair enough, I could have done without the latter; but you had to hand it to them for attention to detail.
And what of the music itself? Well, a line-up of Spiritual Bar regulars included George Frakes, Yan Yates, and Caleb. Yates got the crowd loosened up from the off, clapping and singing along with him triumphantly. George Frakes exhibited some expertise guitar picking through some golden, floating compositions like the classic Letting Go.
My favourite, however, was Tarq Bowen who’s making a real name for himself on the London folk scene. Bowen’s voice soared over his brand of sparse, demanding blues-folk, interchanging from soft, delicate tones reminiscent of Jeff Buckley to full-on Muddy Waters-esque growls.
Check him out at the Spiritual Bar sometime. And when you’re down there, ask Raf when are they putting on their next “pop-up” gig. Trust me, you don’t want to miss out next time.
Words: Gav Duffy
Gav is a musician and blogger. Follow him at @Raisedby_Wolves