Charlene Soraia @ Union Chapel 25th April 2012

Islington’s Union Chapel saw Charlene come to terms with the loss of her beloved bear Montgomery. That dirty little bear meant everything to Charlene and it also accompanied her on the 1st leg of the Moonchild tour plus the dates she played in the U.S. After the disappointment of the Brighton cancellation the day before this was to be the only time I would witness her on this leg of the tour. I arrived at 3pm and it was pouring down with rain. Thankfully being the first there did give me some shelter underneath the small arch where the doors were. It wasn’t that long until my friend who also had a ticket to the Brighton show turned up. You may think why turn up early as Charlene hasn’t reached the point where she has mega keen fans (Marina and the Diamonds and Jessie J spring to mind). But by being there early we both got to chat to Charlene when she walked up to the main entrance. When you meet an artist when it is just you there makes that moment really special.

The evening kicked off with Dan Shears. I previously saw him support on the first leg of the Moonchild Tour and I was left stunned by how amazing he actually was. This date at the Union Chapel was one that I was looking forward to as it would of suited his vocals down to a T. “My name’s Dan Shears, I’m supporting Charlene on this tour or have supported Charlene on this tour” he then said to the audience the moment he got on stage. Opening up the set was London By Lamplight and there is something about his vocals that completely captivate me. This song had a steady pace which was superbly played on an acoustic guitar. Dan’s vocals suited the church perfectly and they were angelic at the same time. He hit the high notes at ease and sent chills up my spine. “This next song is called The Devil’s Favourite Love Story. I’ve met the Devil and he’s assured me it is his favourite. In fact I lived with her for a little while” Shears said before going into The Devil’s Favourite Love Story. I found this song to be chilled. His vocal range is completely extraordinary. He can make any song sound beautiful and this was one of them. It doesn’t appear on the EP The Eternal Mystery of the Human Heart but I am guessing it will feature on a future release. “On this tour, I had the awkward task of playing that song in front of the person that I wrote it about. Which was awkward. This song is called One Dry Eye In The House Of God coz I do like a long title. Oh yeah we’re in the house of God” Dan said to the audience. One Dry Eye In The House Of God was played at an up tempo pace and the high pitched lyrics gelled to the melody perfectly. Straight after it was into another newie and this being My Dear Oscar which won’t feature on the forthcoming EP in July but probably the next one. It was delivered perfectly and I found it slightly powerful at the same time. “How you all doing? You still good. I haven’t brought the evening down for you then. Yet. Stick around there’s a few songs left. I could still ruin it for you” Dan mentioned to the audience as his set was so far going down well with everybody. It was then into The City Of Dreadful Night which Shear’s describe as being a waltz. The song started off at a darker tone compared to the others that had been played. Overall it was a fantastic number which sounded sublime. “At the end of my set, I’m gonna station myself at the back at the merch zone. Were you see that nice friendly man waving his arms as though he’s guiding an aeroplane or calling for help. If you liked what you heard from me and you would like to hear more possibly at home, in the car or nope I can’t think of any others. Then come up and ask me for a CD and I will give it to you in exchange for some money. 5 monies to be exact. I do have to specify because in Aberdeen on this tour I was paid with £4 and a £1 winning scratch card” Shears said to the audience. It was then onto the lead track of July’s forthcoming EP and this being In The Shadows Of Better Men. It was played at a rampant pace and the lyrics were both gentle and entrancing. This song was literally amazing I look forward to hearing the mastered version of this song. “If you do like what you heard from me and you want to follow on Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Soundcloud all that jazz. Then everything online is danshearsmusic. Shears as in the gardening tool because nothing says Rockstar like farming equipment” Dan said before the last song. “This is my last song. Thank You very much guys it’s called Lily. It’s about loving someone with every fibre of your being” he then went onto say. The beautiful Lily ended what had been a stunning 7 song set.

SET LIST

London By Lamplight
The Devil’s Favourite Love Story
One Dry Eye In The House Of God
My Dear Oscar
The City Of Dreadful Night
In The Shadows Of Better Men
Lily

 At 9pm Miss Charlene Soraia took to the stage along. This was the 2nd leg of the Moonchild Tour and accompanying Soraia was accompanied by backing band. Originally I thought would I be able to get used to this after previously seen her solo at The Enterprise and The Borderline earlier in the year. “Hello, how you doing? It’s nice to be back in London where I can understand what everyone’s saying. Too many accents up north. It’s nice but they do say it’s a bit grim up there. But I don’t. I say it always rains in Scotland. It really did this time, we got drenched. But anyway yeah we’re back in London which is nice and did you enjoy Dan Shears. He’s pretty special. So this is a band tour, I’m with a band. They’re also called Dan. It’s true, makes my life a lot easier. I did accidentally call one of them George earlier. The first one is called When We Were 5 and it’s a bit trippy. So this is the point I tell you all that I put acid in the water and you’re going to walk home later and the floors going to be melting. But it’s alright, just pretend you’re in the 60s. It’s fine” Soraia said before opening with When We Were 5. At least Charlene’s wit was not affected considering she was with two other members. This was the first time I had heard this song played live. It was actually one epic song which was divided into two parts. The first was Charlene singing this number faultlessly while on her guitar and playing the organs in front of her. The vocal performance was stunning. Charlene’s vocals reverberated all around the church. When We Were 5 had a steady pace and the 2nd part of this track both drums and bass kicked in. While it was rather mellow just having a band backing her gave the song more oomph.

“I didn’t really put acid in the water, it’s fine. It’s completely clean. It’s holy, it’s meant to be really good for you. I washed in it earlier, it felt great. The next one’s called Lightyears. It’s less trippy” Soraia informed the audience after the huge round of applause When We Were 5 got. Lightyears was yet another song I had not experienced before. This steady paced song was rather easy on the ear and had fantastic lyrics. The fact Soraia had a band made this song rather upbeat. I found Lightyears to be rather entrancing. “The next one’s called Postcards From iO. iO is one of the moons of Jupiter and I thought it was the one that’s made of ice. But apparently that’s Ganymede but that sounds like a disease really. So it’s a really easy mistake to make, you know iO, ice, Ganymede. Something your Doctor could possibly prescribe something for you” Charlene said before going straight into the song. There was a folk vibe to Postcards From iO which was delivered steadily. The chorus was very up tempo and the high pitched warblings were spine tingling. “I’m in search for the perfect chair and table height set up. The next one’s called Rowing or Rowing. I’m not sure. I recently broke up with someone, so maybe it is called Rowing. I dunno same spelling” Charlene said to the audience. Rowing can take on two different meanings.

It could be Rowing as in sailing or Rowing as in arguing. Today it was Rowing as in arguing. At first, this song started off at a slow pace and then got more steady when it progressed. I found this to be rather infectious and it was rather gentle/ subtle at the same time. “So we were in Manchester the other day and I introduced this song Bike and it’s nothing to do with bikes. Some women turned around and was like Why don’t you call it Unicycle. I was like it doesn’t have the word Unicycle in it. It sort of just opened up this big debate and people started chatting. This woman turned around to me and said Charlene can I ask you a question. I thought oh my god this could go terribly wrong now. So I said yeah go for it. I thought she was going to ask something really rude but she asked me if I had an iPhone. Now iPhones are pretty rude you know, but seriously she asked me for an iPhone. I was like I’ve got an iPhone, thinking oh my god I’m going to get mugged. And then she said can I borrow the charger. Yeah coz I just happen to have it on stage with me. I’ve never thought of doing that. Next tour if you want to charge your phones I’ll have a whole array of phone chargers. Oh wait coz I only have an iPhone I’ve only got iPod cables and iPhone cables. So those of you on Samsung I’m very sorry. My mums got a Samsung, I keep on saying to her look just get an iPhone. She won’t listen to me. So this one is called Bike or Unicycle if that’s what you prefer” Soraia told the audience.

In fact her Manchester accent was rather impressive and every one was in a fit of giggles during her banter. It was then onto Bike. This smooth song was superbly sung and Charlene’s vocals were really strong. This outstanding song had a jazzy feel to it. “This tour has sort of been about like playing a few new things as well. Coz after this tour I’m running into a studio, well not running but you know getting a train into a studio and working on the next record. So I’ve been playing some new things and this is the point where you can get your rotten tomatoes out and feel free to hail them at us. Not at me though just aim for this little mandolin. This is called Broken and it’s a bit new and might be a single. I don’t know. Haven’t quite made my mind up”. I found Broken to be rather chilled out and the drums/ bass give it that extra edge. It’s lyrics were rather sleek and beautiful as well. Plus this song was upbeat at the same time. I wouldn’t be surprised if this does become the lead single from the sophomore album. Charlene literally belted out this song. “Something else really embarrassing happened as well with a drunk man. I think it was in Manchester as well. At the end of the show he was trying to buy a T Shirt and talking nonsense. But he was like Charlene that lute that you play phwoarh. I was like that’s a mandolin. He was like yeah but that lute that you played phwoarh. Coz at the end of the song I put it back that way. He was like it’s got a really nice behind on that lute. I was like it’s a mandolin. But he really didn’t get it. I don’t know what’s happened to him. I haven’t found him on Twitter or Facebook yet. You know he could be the one. You never know with these things” Soraia then mentioned to the audience. I am positive she has plenty more admirers that could be the one. “This is Midsummer Moon In June. It’s about what I want done with my body when I’m dead which sounds a bit morbid but it’s not. I’m absolutely fine with it, I expect it’s going to happen one day. Maybe not tomorrow, hopefully not tomorrow. I’ve got something to do. Death happens. I can assure you of that. I’m really sorry if you’ve lost anyone. But we’re in a church so it’s fine” Charlene then told the audience before playing Midsummer Moon In June solo. This finger picking song was blitzed through and the vocal performance was impeccable. “I do actually quite like the back of the mandolin a bit more than the front actually. This is definitely not a Mandolin, this is a baritone guitar. It goes a bit lower than normal. But it’s not a bass. This next one’s called Animal and I think I’m going to call my next album Animal bit I haven’t quite made up my mind yet. If it’s not called Animal you’ll know that I have not called it Animal. I might call it something else like Not Animal. In fact I might just call it Not Animal just so that people in this room know that I decided not to call it Animal in the end” Charlene said to the audience.

Next it was finally onto her drum and bass number with actual drum and bass. Animal was played on her 6 string baritone guitar and its chords resonated right through you. This song was delivered faultlessly and it was wonderful to finally hear what Charlene had been imagining in her head. “I love playing that one. We got a bit of old tapping on it. The next one’s called Forgiven and it’s like another new one. It’s about forgiving yourself more than anything else” Soraia said to the audience before playing penultimate song Forgiven. I found this number to be rather laid back. This song had a beat and was delivered at a mid tempo pace. It sounded rather promising and I look forward to hearing the next full length by Soraia. “I got given a little tiny bear on my last tour by a fan at the back of a venue. It looked a bit dodgy this little bear. It looked like he’d been raped. We decided to keep this bear, we as in I and this little bear has been everywhere with me. I sadly lost him the other day and he was everything to me this little bear. I think he came from New York, he was a Jazz trumpeter. He taught all the greats everything. I’ve been making like this series with him but obviously I’m going have to turn it into a documentary about a bear. So I lost him and so he’s dead. Well he might as well be dead. He’s probably just gone off the rails in Manchester finding naked women. I don’t know what he’s doing with them but I really miss him though. Someone did give me another bear but he looks like the murderer of my little bear. There’s a blue light back there and we’ve got this little bear and like doing an interrogation scene with him. Seeing as we’re in a church maybe this could be the bears funeral. It’s finally time to lay him down to rest. I did actually tell 1 person that I was going to have a funeral and for the wake we’ll have a mass orgy because that would what the bear would of wanted. Seriously though, if anyone finds him please send him back to me. I think I lost him in Manchester or Birmingham. I can never tell the difference” Charlene said before rounding off the night with Wherever You Will Go. This track is the most commercial as it featured on the Twinings advert plus the fact Charlene got to play at the Union Chapel was down to the success of that single. This song was dedicated to the bear and I found this cover to be both unique and beautiful. When closely listening to the lyrics there is a tinge of emotion. Well Charlene Soraia put her own stamp of originality on this song and it was sung to complete perfection. Once over she left the stage only to return moments later for what would be the encore. “I’ve got a confession I absolutely hate encores. There really scary and weird. I walked off the wrong side of the stage the other day it was terrible. The other day there was no where to walk. So I had to do the old you know this technique. Coz children if you can’t see me, I can’t see you. So welcome to the encore. This is it. I’m going to do a song, feel free to laugh at it. It’s quite funny. It’s called Does She Fake Her Cumface? It’s accidentally become bit of an anthem amongst my friends and I and some people that stay until the encore. Thank You very much for coming along. Excuse the pun”. Ending the evening was the smutty but quirky Does She Fake Her Cumface? Which has lyrics that you can’t help but laugh along to. This up tempo song may not seem like a serious song but it’s lyrics tell a different story.

SET LIST

When We Were 5
Lightyears
Postcards From iO
Rowing
Bike
Broken
Midsummer Moon In June
Animal
Forgiven
Wherever You Will Go

ENCORE

Does She Fake Her Cumface?

OVERALL: This was the penultimate date of the UK leg of the Moonchild tour. As predicted Charlene was on fire (not literally) and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. This night was the biggest headline show to date and it was all down to the success of Wherever You Will Go. Each song on the night was tremendous and hearing it with a band backing her made me see it from a whole new perspective. After having seen Soraia solo it did take me a couple of songs to get used to it. But as soon as Charlene opens her mouth to sing you cant help but fall under a spell. The 3 new songs on the night were brilliant and it was so good to hear Animal the way Charlene imagined it. As for Broken that is a definite single whether if it will be the lead from the sophomore album I do not know. Soraia’s vocals are so amazing you just want to bottle it up.

As for Dan Shears words cannot describe how excellent his set was. He used the Union Chapel to his advantage. He may have been the lowly support act but everyone embraced his 7 song set with open arms. I guess Shears would of made a lot of new fans.

All in all this was a magical venue for both Charlene and Dan. They both have incredible vocal ranges and they used the chapel to their advantage. Both Soraia and Shears were both extremely down to earth as they each met fans as they both spent time behind the merch stand.

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