The stunning Union Chapel venue in Islington played host to this years Christmas Jumper Jam for Save The Children. An evening filled with incredible live music from the Country’s best established and up and coming artists, all for an amazing cause, of course. This Friday 12th November Save the Children is encouraging people across the UK to join in with #xmasjumperday. An excuse to don the cheesiest and best festive knits in the name of raising money for the charity. Formerly known as Christmas tree sessions, the evening was filled with unique stripped back sets from the likes of The Charlatans, The Subways, Andy Burrows and Editors, all hosted by BBC Radio 6 Music presenter Lauren Laverne. The venue was decked out in tea lights, big sparkly Christmas trees and pretty tasty mince pies, and an audience all donned in festive sweaters. To say we left feeling pretty Christmassy is an understatement.
Kicking off the first of the live acts was breathy balladeer Rhodes, all haunting vocals and mellowed vibes, setting the tone for the evening ahead. Alt-folk Bears Den followed with another laid back selection of tracks from album ‘Islands’, with the three piece nailing some nice melodic and harmonial twists and showcasing songs that had a beautiful lyrical depth. Next stripped back set was from English musician, and drummer for We Are Scientists and Razorlight no less, Andy Burrows. Adorned in his festive knitwear Burrows played a selection of some of his own tracks, including the wonderful ‘Light The Night’ the soundtrack for festive film The Snowman and The Snowdog. He ended his collection with an acoustic version of one of Razorlights best hits ‘America’, that had the crowd smiling straight at the stage as they sang along. Next up, playing an unique intimate acoustic set were The Subways, stating that they were ‘more scared than when they played Glastonbury’. They had no need to be however, playing versions of their best loved full throttle hits in true raw rock and roll sounds, with tracks such as Shake, Shake, and ‘Rock & Roll Queen’.
We were very excited for next band on the agenda, The Charlatans. Ahead of releasing 12th studio effort, ‘Modern Nature’, the eleven tracked LP is set to be a firm 2015 favourite. Tim Burgess declared a ‘Merry Christmas to one and all’ in a Navy blue Christmas jumper as the band broke into first track, undeniably loved ‘North Country Boy’. The next song ‘ Man Needs to be told’, is the ‘only song with the word Christmas in it’ announced Burgess, followed by the brilliant ‘So Oh’ taken from the new album, along with ‘Come Home Baby’. The Charlatans, were as always, on top form, with their tight performance and warming sounds. They ended their set on the brilliant ‘Impossible’ with Burgess taking to his Harmonica and arguably best loved live track ‘Just When You’re Thinking Things Are Over’ with a merry Andy Burrows hopping on to the stage to join in, playing the sleigh bells. I clearly wasn’t the only one completely over the moon that this was happening, as jeers from the audience filled the Chapel and a few were asked to stop ‘standing on the pews’ in the balcony.
After what seemed like a long wait, filled with eating Mince Pies (with a charitable donation of course), the stage was covered in floral microphone stands and Editors made the last performance of the evening. Opening with classic tracks ‘Munich’ and ‘ Smokers Outside The Hospital Door’, the platinum selling indie band admitted they were taking a break from recording their fifth record to join the lineup that evening. The venue once again proved to be incredible as Editors stripped back raw sounds reverberated off the Chapel walls and filled the hall with pretty special acoustics, highlighted in powerful version of ‘A Ton of Love’. Once again Burrows appeared on the stage to perform a cover of Smith & Burrows covering “This Aint New Jersey’, with the audience singing back each line of ‘Same Old Songs, Every single year’ and ending in Burrows delicately playing the last note on the triangle. Penultimate song ‘Papillion’ was played, before host of the evening Lauren Laverne joined the band to remind us of the amazing cause and awareness that the bands were there to support. Editors ended the evening, with a great cover of ‘Dancing in The Dark’ finishing with a well deserved standing ovation.