Kina Grannis has been a favourite of mine for the past year. I was so impressed with the Bush Hall gig last October which resulted me immediately booking a ticket for the Union Chapel date. Grannis is an impeccable artist who has some fantastic songs underneath her belt. I arrived at the Union Chapel around 1.30pm. Kina had mentioned the first 50 people without a meet and greet ticket will get a wristband. I had a normal ticket hence why I turned up early (later one of my friends had a spare M+G ticket which he kindly gave to me). The main reason for my early arrival was to get this wristband and the fact I wanted a good pew at the front. You don’t want to leave it late and when you get there 50 people are outside and take up the good seats once inside. Once the doors opened I easily got the pew I wanted and then waited till the only support act of the night took to the stage. The warm up act was Imaginary Friend whom was support for the dates in October. I really enjoyed his fantastic tunes one being a brand new one called Fire Escape plus he sung an outstanding take on the classic Fly Me To The Moon.
8.30pm and Kina Grannis took to the stage and immediately launched into World In Front Of Me after a little bit of tuning. This song was delivered to perfection and it was ever so beautiful. It was ever so enchanting to watch and also the fact Kina was joined by a cellist added a brand new dimension to each song that featured on the night. “Thankyou so much” Grannis said as the whole chapel erupted into applause. It was then onto Strong Enough which was an up-tempo, more powerful plea to stay emotionally true with both yourself and others. In fact the opening chords reminded me of Save Tonight by Eagle Eyed Cherry. “Jeez this is crazy. How are you, how is everyone? Are we freezing? Thankyou guys for toughing the weather and coming out tonight that’s pretty amazing” Grannis said before launching into Cambridge. Cambridge was delivered at a steady tempo and Kina’s vocals throughout this song were faultless. “I was kinda counting on you guys to make it a little warmer in here by the time I got here” Grannis said before getting stuck into the upbeat The One You Say Good Night To. Everyone in the chapel clapped along in unison. “Would it be possible to get some house lights so I can stare at some faces? I don’t know who I’m talking too” Kina said before glancing at everyone sitting down. Grannis also recorded a video of the audience applauding on her iPhone. Next it was onto my favourite song and this being the mellow In Your Arms. “Is it less exciting when there aren’t Jelly Belly’s behind me? I’m sorry just close your eyes and imagine it, I don’t want to let you down guys” Kina said before singing this wonderful song. I find In Your Arms to be both mellow and entrancing. The vocals were beautiful and they were ever so soft on the ear. “Have you been wondering who is this handsome fella is? This is my friend the lovely Keith Tutt II, lets all clap for him again. He’s very awesome and I’m very very happy to have him on this tour” Grannis said to the audience referring to her cellist. What followed was something spine tingling and this being a cover of Britney Spear’s Oops I Did It Again. This song had a Folk/ Acoustic twist on it which made it sound incredible. The vocals were superb and I loved this stripped back take of this song. Keith then left the stage and Kina started to sing Stars Falling Down. This was a beautiful steady paced song with an added dash of emotion. What came next was something rather extraordinary. “I’m going to play you a new song. What if you don’t like it? You’re cheering but you could hate this song. I hope that’s not the case” Grannis said before singing a serious song and this being This Far. I found this to be a steady pace song and the vocals were rather strong. Just hearing this makes me anticipate a brand new Kina album. This Far sticks with the same fantastic formulae. “This is insane, I can’t really comprehend what’s going on with you guys existing and everything” Grannis while glancing around the audience.
“I’m sure a lot of you know I spend a lot of time in front of a computer doing things like Youtube and Twitter. And I love them so much but I can’t tell you how crazy it is to me to be across the world and have all these real life human beings in front of me. It’s kind of incredible” Kina gushed to the audience. It was then onto Valentine. This up tempo ballad was rather slushy but it was a real audience pleaser. “Who here was at one of them shows in October? It’s crazy. My mind is like what’s happening. I’ll never get over it ever” Kina said while tuning. “I feel like I’m missing good bits of life right now” Grannis said as there was some chatter in the pews. She then asked that person to tweet her what was so funny because Kina really wanted to know. A newer song from Stairwells was next on the night and this being Without Me. The lyrics to this song were fantastic and it showed off her outstanding vocal range. “So I spend a lot of time thinking about ways to improve myself. It’s something I like to do and I wrote a song about it at this point of my life. My life has been a good life but it was a rougher time in my life. I was thinking about a lot I wrote a song about it and my older sister is generally very good with lyrics, listening to them, understanding them and things like that. She asked me one day what this song was about so I delved into the things I was going through at the time. After this she let me know that she’d always thought it was about flushing a goldfish down the toilet. That was weird and not true” Kina said before launching in the aptly titled The Goldfish Song. I found this song to have steady pace and it was very gentle at the same time. Also the harmonising was spot on.
“So this is my last song. I need your help on this one actually. There are three levels of participation. First level would be not participating. The second one is singing the whole song with me if you know it. The third one is singing the heartbeat of the song” Grannis said before unplugging for Message From Your Heart. Just witnessing this close up was very surreal and hypnotic. “I’m excited for this because your acoustics are like explodified in this place. Not a word” she then went onto say before launching into the final song of the night. “This song is crazy for me because I wrote it like over 4 years ago. I had just graduated college and I moved to Austin, Texas, and I was doing music there and I was sitting in my room at like 3am pretending I was a heart and writing a song about it, like normal humans do. This song came out and the end came along and in my head I heard a group of people singing along with me. At the time this was completely unrealistic. I was playing like 5 gigs a week at coffee shops full of people talking over me and that was my life at the time. So this it’s really insane” Grannis then told the cintimate audience. Kina definitely made use of the re-verb in the chapel. Everyone joined in with singing along to the amazing chorus. Grannis then left the stage only to return moments later for the encore. “I really feel like this is fake, like you were all paid to come make me feel so loved tonight. Or I’m about to wake up in like 2 seconds and I’ll be back in Austin, Texas” she said before launching into a startling performance of It’s Love. “We’re going to be sad to leave you all. Thankyou again” Grannis said before throwing out some thankyous. At this point both Keith and Imaginary Friend accompanied Kina on stage. Grannis took to the ukulele for Fix You and what an incredible take on this song it was. She made it her own and delivered each note superbly.
World In Front Of Me
The One You Say Good Night To
In Your Arms
Oops I Did It Again
Stars Falling Down
The Goldfish Song
Message From Your Heart
OVERALL: I rather enjoyed this night. Both Imaginary Friend and Kina were brilliant as to be expected. The fact Grannis was joined by a cellist on the majority of the songs added a brand new perspective to them. I could listen to Kina play over and over again and I anticipate when she next returns to UK shores. The album Stairwells is complete perfection and brand new song This Far makes my mouth water for the next album. Finally with this tour being sponsored by Jelly Belly (if you have seen the video to In Your Arms you will know why) resulted in little boxes of beans given out for free.