Serafina Steer @ St Leonard’s Church 24th January 2013

After The Joy Formidable finished their set at Rough Trade East I then darted to St Leonard’s Church to attend Serafina Steer’s album launch for The Moths Are Real. After having witnessed her at Rough Trade the week before I was left captivated enough to book a ticket for this show. I was tempted to attend but what swung it for me was the fact the special guests were The Boxettes and Jarvis Cocker. With that announcement all the remaining tickets were snapped up immediately. Once I was done at Rough Trade East it was then to Aldgate East where I would get the train to Moorgate then straight to Old Street. Only problem is it was taking far too long for a Hammersmith and City line train to arrive. I then decided to walk/ jog there and if a bus came I would of hopped on that. At this time I was full of visions that I was going to miss the start of the set which would have been a complete nightmare. I knew that there was no way I was going to get a pew right at the front. When I reached the church I was pleased to see that the support act was on. I found a pew at the front and a pillar obscured my view. By the time the support had finished I decided to sit on the floor next to someone whom I knew. Now I then had the perfect view as I was centre but on the floor. The only negative thing was that it was highly uncomfortable. But what can you do it was either that or sitting somewhere with a massive pillar obscuring your view.

“Hello. Welcome to Shoreditch Church everybody and album launch. Thank you for coming” Serafina said before opening up with Machine Room. This was a rather promising song and it is was a random subject to sing about. Steer sings about “Going below to take a look in the Machine Room. In my boiler suit and hard hat”. I really liked this song and the vocals were quite something and the harp made it rather entrancing. It was then straight onto the haunting Alien Invasion. Now this was a galactic song about space and aliens. I really liked this tune as it there was a fast pace to it. I must say Steer’s vocals were spot on. World Of Love then followed on and this was faultlessly delivered. This tune was steady in tempo and the lyrics were stunning. Serafina is a classically trained harpist and the use of harp and words create something spectacular. “Now the next song is called Ballad Of Brick Lane. I don’t hate Brick Lane. I feel everybody hates each other here. No not here but in the East End. This is meant to be all love and light this gig so forget that negativity” Serafina said before the next number of the evening and this was Ballad Of Brick Lane. After the beautiful harp opening the song then hits you with the opening line line “I don’t know why I’m heading to Brick Lane, I hate it there like everybody does, I haven’t been there for age”. When I heard the new album for the first time this was one of the songs that stood out and just hearing it live was quite something. The Moths Are Real which is the albums title track was the next to be played. In this song Serafina sings about having conversations with Venus. I found this to be chilled out/ uplifting and I was captivated from beginning to end. It was then straight onto the next number and this being Has Anyone Ever Liked You?. This song was incredibly short and really quirky as well. The first line of this song being “Has anyone ever liked you/ As much as I do/ Or as well?”. Has Anyone Ever Liked You actually reminded me of Regina Spektor. Skinny Dipping came straight after. This was a song about the young and innocent. The Removal Man was a stripped down track with church organ. This was a quirky song with fantastic lyrics. “Many times I’ve wished you well, I’ve wished you well, now when I hear your name I think of hell, I think of hell, you hate my friends yet you fantasise about them as well”. Mr Jarvis Cocker provided backing vocals for this song. Island Odessy was s a mixed bag as at first you think is is a love ballad “I am a flower/You are a flower” then the lyrics take a turn with the line “They killed your pigs and drank your wine”. “So now we’re going to play a song an old whore called Serafina. I would like to state for the record she was in a sea shanty. I didn’t write it about me” Steer then mentioned to the audience before Night Before Mutiny. This song was aided by Pulp’s bassist Steve Mackay with Cocker on wind machine. There was a nautical theme to this track as it was a whimsical song about ships. Well I say ships but I just mean the one which was called Serafina. I found Night Before Mutiny to be an epic song which was delivered with plenty of gusto. “This has gone so quickly. I should of talked more. We could just have a long chat at the end” Serafina said before the penultimate song of the evening and this being Disco Compilation. I would have to say this was rather hypnotic and has to be my favourite from The Moths Are Real. The lyrics were extraordinary and the use of harp worked perfectly. “Everything started here and it’s finishing here. So thanks for coming” Steer said before introducing everyone that had performed with her. The finale was Lady Fortune and this wrapped up what had been a stunning evening. Steer then left the stage only to return moments later for the encore. “We’re going to do another song Christian and I” Serafina said before launching into something from the sophomore album Change Is Good, Change Is Good. How To Haunt A House Party was in fact quite quirky and there was an electro vibe to it which worked fantastically.

SET LIST

Machine Room
Alien Invasion
World Of Love
Ballad Of Brick Lane
The Moths Are Real
Has Anyone Ever Liked You
Skinny Dipping
The Removal Man
Island Odessy
Night Before Mutiny
Disco Compilation
Lady Fortune

ENCORE

How To Haunt A House Party

OVERALL: Serafina is one talented individual and I thoroughly enjoyed this night. I really liked the special guests who played with Steer. The Moths Are Real is an incredible album and just hearing it performed live was quite something. It is music like this that works splendidly in church. The one thing I like about Serafina Steer is the fact her main instrument is the harp. Now I have only ever seen this as the main instrument once and that was The Duplets back at the FolkFest at The Bedford. What I like about this kind of music is it is both mellowing and hypnotic. I could feel myself relaxing when Steer plucked each string.

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