Saturday, 26 December 2015

The Unthanks at Union Chapel

The Unthanks have been around for 10 years now and are going on tour to celebrate that fact. That does, of course, include time spent being called Rachel Unthanks & The Winterset and that's what I first saw them as in 2009 in the Linbury Studio at the Royal Opera House. They always seem to pick the right venues for them. Rachel mentioned a couple of times that Union Chapel was her favourite venue and, with the lighting, the Christmas Tree, and the backlit rose window, it was certainly very atmospheric.

The set opened with Rachel and Becky singing together and gradually welcoming the band on stage, slowly growing until we had the full band of 10 members including strings and brass. Just voices to the small band to the big band, touching on the albums over the last ten years. Rachel and Becky were both in sparkly frocks for the start of the festive season and the gorgeous lighting and Christmas Tree in the corner near the stage made it feel like the start of Christmas, especially when, for the encore, the rose window of the chapel was lit. That was really a very nice effect. I haven't seen them with such a 'big' light show before, so they were clearly putting their all into these 10th anniversary performances.

It was a show of two halves with a break in the middle to get drinks or merch - I chose to get merch in the form of the new rarities album which both lasses signed for me. I also had a little chat with Becky about growing up in the same village - years apart, obviously.

Favourite songs of the evening included 'On A Monday Morning', 'Lucky Gilchrist', 'King Of Rome', 'The Romantic Tees' and 'Shipbuilding'. One of the last songs was their new Christmas song, '2000 Miles', which sounded excellent and is on the new album 'Archive Treasures'. The encore was 'Tar Barrel In Dale', a previous Christmas song, and a lovely version of 'Here's The Tender Coming' followed by lots of clapping.

It was lovely to see the lasses and The Unthanks again and listen to their thoughtful, gentle music again. Come back again soon.

And thanks to Twitter posts for the photos!

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