All Our Favourite Things was a night curated by The Langley Sisters, also known as Dirty Pretty Strings. This outstanding event took place at Islington’s Union Chapel and it was all in aid of the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice. I decided to purchase a ticket a couple of days before on the basis of some of the artists whom were appearing. I was outside the Union Chapel a couple of hours before the doors opened. The weather was bitter and I was glad to get inside when they finally opened just after 6.30pm. The host of the evening was George Lamb. Things then kicked off at 7.40pm with Dirty Little Strings. Originally a string quartet they extended to a 12 piece stringed orchestra. Opening up the evening was Brahms Hungarian Dance which sent chills up the back of my spine. Only one word can sum up this performance and that is stunning. I found this to be rather magical and it was the perfect start to an enchanting night. After it was onto the first artist on the bill and this being the one and only Paloma Faith.
“Hello everyone, I wrote this song with Ed Harcourt a while ago and we thought it would be lovely to share it with you as it was meant” Faith then said to the audience before getting stuck into something from the début album and this being Do You Want The Truth Or Something Beautiful?. Accompanying Paloma was Ed on piano and the Dirty Little Strings (who accompanied everyone on the night). I must say the string section added that special something. The vocal performance was spell binding. The acoustics of the chapel worked wonders. “I’m going to leave you with this song which is my. I think it’s my new single. I can’t keep track. As ever it’s in the family and Ed played piano on this. So we thought we’d do this as well ‘cos he’s got a lot to learn and he knew this one already” Paloma said before ending her 2 short songs with Just Be. This was a beautiful ballad which was extremely emotional. Paloma then left the stage leaving Harcourt on stage on the piano. It was then onto The Music Box which was faultlessly delivered. This song which was taken from the 2004 LP Strangers told a poignant wartime tale. Harcourt then introduced Carl Barât to the stage. Now Carl is best known for being ¼ of The Libertines. The song which he played acoustically was a Libertines tune and this being Music When The Lights Go Out. Now I wasn’t a massive fan of The Libertines but this song sounded incredible. The lyrics were impeccable and it was delivered at a smooth pace.
After George came back onto the stage to introduce the next act and this being Ian McCulloch along with Ian Broudie. Now Ian McCulloch is part of Echo & The Bunnymen while Ian Broudie is part of The Lighting Seeds. It was then onto Killing Moon. If you have never heard any Echo & The Bunnymen tracks before you would know this one for sure. The chorus was both gentle and memorable. Once over it was then onto Lips Like Sugar. Sophie Ellis-Bextor was next up and what was performed was a new track which was also written with Ed. The song was a baby as it was only 2 weeks old.
This tune was Young Blood and words cannot describe how amazing it was. I was left speechless as this wonderful song was delivered to perfection. Honestly it makes me look forward to Sophie’s comeback and I really hope the song doesn’t change when in a studio because this was just perfect. Up next was a reworking of he first single and this being Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love). I must say this take on the song was incredible. The string section worked wonders and Sophie used them to perfection. From the 2 songs which were performed it makes me eager to see Ellis-Bextor perform live when she does tour.
Ending the first set was Brett Anderson of Suede. He took to the piano for Brittle Heart and after he took to an acoustic guitar for Trash. I was left hypnotised and I will most definitely be purchasing his music. Once over the whole chapel erupted with applause then the first part of the night was over.
Do You Want The Truth Or Something Beautiful?
The Music Box
Music When The Lights Go Out
Lips Like Sugar
Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love)
The 2nd half of this incredible evening started with Dirty Little Strings tackling the composition Larghetto which Sir Edward Elgar wrote. There is something about orchestral music that I love. This sounded so epic and it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Also I felt rather relaxed. It was then onto a double dose of songs by Ed Harcourt. Ed took to the piano for Rain On The Pretty Ones which was taken from the 4th LP The Beautiful Lie. This was rather folky and it delivered incredibly. What I liked was the fact you could clearly picture what was happening in the song. Rain On The Pretty Ones was rather entrancing. “I’m now going to play a cover, I don’t know the words. This is a Jackson Browne song” Harcourt said taking centre stage to play the acoustic guitar. The lyrics were on a stand in front of him. Ed’s take on These Days sounded brilliant and he made it his own.
Next it was onto some Cheese related jokes from Ed Harcourt as the next artist wasn’t ready to take to the stage. It was then onto the person I most wanted to see and my tip to be massive next year. Her album Dark Black is simply stunning and also she has recently appeared on Jools Holland. The artist in question is Savvanah born Kristina Train. “This is a song that Ed and I wrote. I’m beginning to feel that there’s a common theme of the evening. Beginning and ending with Mr Harcourt but that’s a very good thing” Train said before embarking onto January which they wrote last January. This was a light breezy song that sounded ever so beautiful. Kristina looked rather radiant and its lyrics were impeccably delivered. Train actually reminded me of Regina Spektor (music wise). After plenty of applause it was then onto a cover of Louis Armstrong. This being What A Wonderful World which was delivered flawlessly. Train’s vocals completely stunned me and it also wowed the rest of the audience. When Kristina does tour again I would love it to be at the Union Chapel.
It was then onto Suede frontman again. What Brett Anderson sang was The Wild Ones which was taken from Suede’s LP Dog Man Star which was released in 1994. This was a heart wrenching ballad which was delivered excellently on the acoustic guitar. It was then onto Carl Barât who played a solo song accompanied by Edie Langly, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Kristina Train. The track in question being So Long, My Lover. Carl sang the verses and the girls spectacularly harmonised. I was basically lost for words witnessing this beautiful song right in front of me. Kristina and Edie then left the stage leaving just Carl and Sophie on the stage. This was to be a duet of Dream A Little Dream which left me lost for words. Their vocals infused together perfectly. The penultimate song of the evening was Nothing Lasts Forever by both Ian McCulloch and Ian Broudie. But it was the final song that left me breathless and this being Waterloo Sunset. Each of the performers (minus Paloma and both Ian’s) reunited for this epic collaboration of this Kinks classic. Now this was extremely beautiful and it wrapped up what had been a spectacular evening.
Rain On The Pretty Ones
What A Wonderful World
The Wild Ones
So Long, My Lover
Dream A Little Dream
Nothing Lasts Forever
OVERALL: This was an outstanding night which featured a whole host of artists coming together to support the Noah’s Ark Children Hospice. This was the first time I had seen Brett, Ian and Carl perform and I thoroughly enjoyed each of the songs sung.
Paloma was simply phenomenal. It was nice just seeing 2 songs performed in such an intimate venue. Sophie was amazing. I have been a fan of hers since Groovejet and based on that performance I will be booking for the London date of the tour whenever that is announced. Kristina Train was simply majestic. She is a true talent who has what it takes to go far. Her take on What A Wonderful World was breathtaking. If you haven’t heard her debut album Dark Black yet I suggest you go and buy a copy.
Finally Dirty Little Strings. I am not a fan of orchestral music but the two pieces that they performed left me lost for words. The fact they played with all the artists on the night was a nice addition.