Silencio @ Hampstead Baptist Church
A sizeable congregation of music lovers turned out for the Silencio gig last night. Sitting in their midst, appreciating this architecturally pleasing candlelit church for the first time, I wasn’t at all sure what to expect, as the three musical acts were all new to me.
First up, Skopje. When this studded leather jacket wearing bloke began to sing, I could not believe that the voice and the person were one and the same. Pure, high-pitched, reminiscent of a choir boy, perfect for the ecclesiastical setting. And the songs themselves? A lesson in meditation. Out went the daily cares that clutter my mind. Peace entered my body. Really. And an interesting response, given that the songs’ subject matter went from lullaby to protest song.
Dear Pariah followed through with melodic harmonising, screechy cello and soft whispery drumming. Experimental. Loved the voices and the arrangements. Quite mellow and spiritual in its reach. I could criticise the awkward start and the chitchat but I won’t..
If there was a downside to the evening, it was that, with regret, I was unable to stay to the end of this very special gig. I only managed to catch three songs from Johanna Glaza. But it was enough to realise that this is a truly mesmerising performer, her voice reminiscent of a young Kate Bush, her entrancing stage performance and her ethereal beauty also calling Lisa Hannigan to mind.
A magical evening.
I heard from the organiser that these performers are Watford-based and it is the recent loss of their Watford venue that has brought them to London. All I can say is Watford’s loss is London’s gain. I fervently hope last night’s Silencio gig at Hampstead church gets repeated, becomes a regular fixture in the London gig calendar. I for one would return and next time I would make sure I could stay to the very end. And once the word gets around the gig circuit, I predict gig goers who love experimental acoustic folk in an atmospheric venue will be queuing to get in.