Sundown @ Union Chapel 20th March 2010

Church gigs are always special and one was just that. Sundown is a mixed arts and multimedia event that normally takes place in Southend on Sea. The event which only lasted for 2 hours combined live music with comedy and then with poetry. I arrived at the Union Chapel at 12pm to see there were quite a lot of people sitting in the pews. I go to the first row pew. I then spot Laura so I move over to her and we have a brief chat. The curators of the afternoon each perform a poem each. The second poem which was about a Big Bad Chocolate Cake and Irritable Bowel Syndrome got the laughs. After the audience was told that there was refreshments at the back to which someone replies is there any Chocolate cake. Unfortunately there were two cakes Cheesecake and the other I cannot remember. There was a third poet that came on and read out a short piece that pulled in the applause. The curator came up and introduce the next artist who has a publishing deal with HarperCollins and has worked with the likes of Kate Nash and Phil Jupitus. This artist being the main reason I came and that was the lovely and talented Laura Dockrill. Yes the set was extremely short only 3 short poems. That did not matter though because I was captivated all the way through. I was listening in awe hanging on every word of each poem. The 3 poems were completely new. By new I mean that they weren’t included in the book Mistakes In The Background. Opening up the set was Cowboy which is a short story/ poem. It is completely faultless now Laura performs it at ease. It is a nice short story and a bit sad at the end as the cowboy gets shot. Basically the 16 year girl in this story loves this cowboy. After Laura says she is surprised there was silence when she was telling this story. The second poem was a new one I hadn’t heard before. Laura said it was about a sexy man and the sea. It is a brilliant poem it is always a real treat to hear new material. My favourite bit had to be the bit where they have the staring competition. This is a funny poem that has so much power. For starters the acoustics are amazing and this poem does get people laughing. When finishing the second poem Laura says that she is in London performing this week. Laura calling herself Duckbill made me smile and chuckle. Well the last poem was Skin. Laura sings the title. As for the poem itself it is nice and powerful. Again it pulls in the laughs and she could of easily performed the three poems with no microphone. The vocals are strong and Laura belted out each poem. The one thing I love is you realise Laura’s passion for her poetry. She is the reason I started reading and listening to poetry. So straight after it was onto the next artist that was on the bill. Armed with a microphone and a keyboard Liz was someone who had the audience in stitches. The set included poetry and poetry in song format. One really short song was called Shopping In Sainsbury’s With A Small Child. It was one that had the audience laughing. Another one of the many readings was Separation And Anxiety which was basically two lines. I would definitely like to see Liz again in the future as she is extremely talented. I would like to be familiar with her work first and current book is as Liz says a good read when going to the toilet. The first music act was Dave Woodcock and I really enjoyed the set. There was a folk feel in all the songs and Dave mainly played the keyboard. He is definitely someone to check out and his debut album “Home Made” not Home Grown (as was said) I look forward to hearing.

OVERALL: This was a brilliant way to spend the afternoon. The Union Chapel is such a beautiful place to hold events. Laura was mesmerising as always both Liz Bentley and Dave Woodcock I definitely would like to hear more material from both. After Dave’s set there was a 15 minute break and I had to dash off. The three acts I missed were comedy from Danielle Ward who I aim to catch live one day as what I have read and seen on Youtube looks interesting. Deferred Success which were the second band of the afternoon from hearing the tracks they have on Myspace has left me wanting to hear more material. The Langley Sisters who were top of the bill I have seen before and they sound amazing. Their allotted 20 minute set wouldn’t of done them justice as they have a lot of brilliant material.


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