Recently featured on Jools Holland and with their debut album planned for January 2011, London-based rock outfit CHAPEL CLUB have confirmed a performance at the Academy 2 on the 25th February 2011. Tickets priced 13.50 including booking fee are on sale Thursday 4th of November at 9am from Ticketmaster outlets nationwide and Ticketmaster.ie.
In its current incarnation, Chapel Club was born in the summer of 2008 in the shadow of St. Luke’s Church, on London’s Old Street. It was here, two or three times a week, that the five members of a then unknown band would gather after rehearsing nearby to drink and discuss a name for their group
“Like everything else with us,” says Michael (guitar, keys), “the name was unplanned and ill-defined in the beginning. We didn’t start out with one and we’d go ages without bringing it up. But on the occasions when we did talk about it down in the churchyard, there was a lot of disagreement.” Eventually, the answer came from the site of the discussions itself, and the embryonic band became Chapel Club.
In the end, it took very little time for the defining elements of Chapel Club’s signature sound to take shape: heavy drama from the guitars, a rhythm section as tight as a hanged man’s gullet, melodic intricacies aplenty and a vocal that crooned and swooned its way through stories of lust, love and loss like a modern-day Jacques Brel. It soon became apparent to all involved – as well as the growing legion of admirers the band picked up from early gigs and their first MySpace page – that Chapel Club were different from other bands. First, there was the music: they didn’t quite fit any of the existing stereotypes.
The second thing that set the nascent Chapel Club apart was the words: Lewis drew on his love of wordsmiths like Ted Hughes, Mikhail Bulgakov, R.S. Thomas, Frank O’Hara, Ernest Hemingway and Knut Hamsun to create lyrics that flitted from the vivid and vernacular (the lovers’ argument of O Maybe I) or darkly poetic (the pained paean to desire that is Machine Music) to the acutely descriptive (After the Flood) and downright philosophical (Paper Thin).
The end result? Chapel Club aren’t run of the mill. They have their own formula, one they arrived at by chance and which they want to remain something of a mystery, in case they jinx it. More than anything else though, they are a band best described not in relation to other bands or musical precedents but in relation to the events, experiences and sentiments at the heart of their songs: sex, love, grief, frustration, pride, power, jealousy, even (in The Shore) the desire for the comforts of religious faith in a mind that’s far too cynical ever to accept the possibility of God.
Head down to one of Chapel Club’s fortnightly London events and you’ll most likely find yourself in an offbeat location – an ‘acid Rasta’ West Indian pub perhaps, or a disused gallery space – mingling with a fun-loving, forward-thinking crowd and watching a magical, moody, incredibly loud live show that will leave you by turns stunned, enraptured, anguished, awestruck and overwhelmed. ‘Intense’ is the word on a lot of listeners’ lips, and after two years of ensuring their musical abilities match their ambitions, you won’t hear Chapel Club complaining about that.