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Live review

Paloma Faith 

Union Chapel, Islington

added: 8 Mar 2013 // gig date: 3 Mar 2013
reviewer: Victoria Dillingham

Paloma Faith - Union Chapel, Islington - Printable version
Paloma cut a sleek sophisticated silhouette as she emerged from the shadows to claim the spotlight at the Union Chapel on Sunday night.

The intimate set is the first American Express Platinum Cashback Gig, which enables fans to donate the cost of their ticket to the global children’s charity War Child.

The pint-sized London born singer-songwriter is no stranger to the Islington venue, having first performed there at the age of 14, but tonight’s different. The crowd have been promised a unique performance: a stripped back, acoustic version of her second album – Fall to Grace – featuring no drums, electric guitars, or keyboards. Just Paloma sporting a black all in one sequin number and accompanied by a string quartet, pianist and two backing singers.

The flame haired songstress wastes little time in easing her fans into the mood with the popular ballad: Let your love walk in, which she follows with 30 minute love affair, the chart-topping hit Picking up the pieces and the soulful Let me down easy.

Flexing effortlessly from soul to jazz, Faith takes a brief interlude from her own material and mesmerises the crowd with Billie Holliday’s: God bless the child - proving there really is no song too big for her, or venue too small to fill with the spirit and music of legends passed.

Goosebumps ripple from the front rows back and up onto the balconies, as the string quartet play the opening bars of Inxs’ Never tear us apart. And Faith fixes herself to the centre of the stage to execute a flawless and emotive performance that would leave Hutchence glowing with pride.

All eyes later fix on Faith as she lifts herself onto the piano to deliver a heart wrenching Just be, and the chapel erupts in applause and whoops of “I love you P”.

Having powered through the majority of the platinum album, the evening’s left little time for the quirky charm we’ve come to witness in interviews and appearances on shows such as Never Mind the Buzzcocks. But as Faith acknowledges it’s just not that kind of evening. Mid tour, and at the height of the album’s success, tonight’s been about raising funds and awareness of the global children’s charity: War Child - while simultaneously showcasing the Brit Nominee’s talent in its most natural form, outside of the studio and free from the mixing decks.

Such a flawless and memorable set, few are likely to believe that Faith’s busy tour schedule allowed no time for a rehearsal. But what tonight’s performance should instill, is a firm belief that Faith deserves a place in the award-winning vocalists of our era, alongside the likes of Adele and Florence Welsh. And that her refusing a request from the late Amy Winehouse to be one of her backing singers, might just be the smartest decision this award-winning singer-songwriter's ever made.




Platinum selling artist, Paloma Faith dazzled on stage at the Union Chapel in a one off performance at the American Express Platinum Cashback Gig for War Child. There's still time to catch Paloma Faith live at the O2 on Friday 7th June 2013: www.theo2.co.uk
To find out more about the charity, War Child visit: www.warchild.org.uk

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5 stars

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