Paul Weller, Tim Burgess, Holly Johnson
Christmas Tree Sessions, Union Chapel
added: 13 Dec 2013
// gig date: 6 Dec 2013
reviewer: Morgan Dickenson
On Thursday the 6/12/13 the intimate Union Chapel in Islington North London was the venue for Save the Children’s Christmas appeal. Hosted by Lauren Laverne, it featured such musical luminaries as former Supergrass front man Gaz Coombs and Paul Weller, accompanied by the London Metropolitan Orchestra. This now annual event was devoted to the children caught up in the ongoing conflict in Syria.
Opening act was Will Heard. Looking like a dreaming lost boy with matching wistful voice – think Chet Baker with guitar instead of trumpet – women will love this kid. If I sound jealous, it’s because I am. The Moons and Tim Burgess played enjoyable striped down acoustic sets, with the former being accompanied by classiscal musician Myleene Klass.
In between acts there were festive readings of Charles Dickens from Peter Serafinowicz, Chris Addison, Sean Keaney and, best of all, Caitlin Moran, who turns out to have a lovely soft reading voice. Gaz Coombs was another musical highlight. Two orchestrated versions of Caught by the Fuzz and Moving worked surprisingly well, and he is making the leap from former Brit-pop Bash Street kid to mature solo artist look effortless.
But if it is mature solo artists you walk to talk about, then next up was the daddy of them all. The performers had been encouraged to wear festive jumpers, and there were knitted reindeers and Christmas Puds a plenty. Tension was running high in the room as to how the modfather would negotiate this. But we need not have worried; Paul Weller took to the stage in the most immaculately tailored light grey suit I have ever seen, beautifully set of by a crew neck of mistletoe green. He launched into a wonderful set, with standout songs being Wildwood and You Do Something To Me.
This enjoyable night was rounded off by a surprise appearance from Holly Johnston performing The Power of Love.
Throughout the evening footage of children affected by the Syrian crises was shown, a reminder of how lucky most of us the UK are. It is estimated that 3.1 million children there need help, and another 1 million have become refuges. Save the Children is helping by providing food, safe water, medicine and shelter. Donations can be made by logging onto their website or by dialling 0800 859 5030.
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