Live Review: Communion New Faces Tour – London

Communion New Faces Tour

St Stephen’s Church, London, 27th April 2016

Words: Claire Healey

new-facesAs the evening sun streamed in through the stained glass windows, the ethereal atmospherics of St Stephen’s Church provided the perfect setting for yet another glorious adulation of new music. Sounding most at home in this gospel-toned atmosphere, ex-choir boy Matt Woods was first to greet the cheerful congregation of new music lovers. Accompanied by just keys and an electric drum pad, Woods took full advantage of the church’s acoustics with soft soulful harmonies and future-soul croons that ached in all the right places. Hymn-like songs such as In The Dark and the as yet unreleased track If You Forget Me were sung with an impassioned conviction that appeared to take hold of his entire body as it reverberated around the room. Having already seen this man live twice before, it was fascinating to bear witness to the adoring silence that fell upon the church as others watched his incredible vocal abilities unfold.

Next to take to the altar was Communion’s newest signing, Rukhsana Merrise. A West-London native with a flair for combining elements of traditional folk, classic soul and fresh R&B to make her own signature sound. Showcasing a uniquely tender vocal that fluttered at times in the same musical barriers as Duffy and Amy Winehouse, she performed latest single Money and songs from her 2015 EP ‘September Songs’ with raw honesty and rambunctious energy. Despite efforts to entice audience interaction with hand-claps and foot stamps and even a soulful re-imagining of The Weeknd’s Can’t Feel My Face, it wasn’t enough to stop relentless nonsensical chat from invading her set and prevented her music from gaining the full attention it quite rightly deserved.

Adam French, on the other hand, wasn’t one to let others ruin his moment on stage and was forced to ‘shush’ the same culprits during the opening chords of Weightless, a song that in itself demanded silence. Had the tour been in another venue, I suspect his reaction to these disturbances would have not been quite so tame. His set met intimate ballads with emotionally charged anthems and a firm and confident stage presence. The weighty subject matter of  Euthanasia was matched with good natured ‘Northern’ sarcasm; whilst the energetic Ivory streamed catchy chord progressions, perceptive song writing talents and that distinctively rasp vocal. It’s clear that Adam French is definitely an artist to keep all our ears on.

By far the stand-out act of the night was The Beach – also known as George Morgan and his band – who managed to get the merry audience members onto their feet and dancing around the aisles. Like a less brooding and more anthemised Ben Howard, The Beach immersed his newfound followers in upbeat and richly melodic tracks such as Bite My Tongue, Thieves and Geronimo. Despite some issues with the bass frequency, his unfaltering musicianship meant that the songs were catchy enough to keep everyone moving and undoubtedly ended the night on a massive high.

With ten years of running live music events, a consistent wealth of amazing new talent and yet another successful New Faces tour under their belt, it really isn’t any wonder that Communion Music are considered a big part of  the live music world.

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  1. […] year), co-headlined Communion’s biannual New Faces Tour (read my review for Popped Music here) made plans for an album release early next year and announced a headline tour around the UK […]

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