Daylight Music – Union Chapel, London

Saturday 23rd June, 2018

I love Daylight Music. It’s such a brilliant idea, live music in an iconic venue, pay what you can afford, CAKE and tea. What is not to love about this? Whenever I have a free Saturday and can get a cheap coach ticket (today cost me £12 return) I pop in to Daylight Music. They run most Saturday lunchtimes, with a break in the summer, and you always get 3 main acts plus someone playing live to fill in the gaps. The suggested donation is £5 and there is always someone worth listening to on the bill. Why not go? Only one more week left this season, but they are back in the Autumn. I hope to see you there at some point.

I had planned this trip up a while ago, not knowing (or caring to be honest) who was on the bill. Through Lauren Laverne’s excellent show on BBC6 Music (and if you aren’t listening to that, then you should be) I had made contact with Ian. He had tweeted in looking for someone to go to a gig with, I said anytime he was in Bristol or I was in London I’d gladly go with him, but also encouraging him to go alone. I go to gigs on my own all the time, better to see and hear great music alone than to miss out. Through the power of music, the radio and twitter we made a loose plan to meet at Daylight Music.

Come the actual day and I’ve forgotten Ian’s twitter name (please don’t take offense, I forget my own!) and having been on social media holiday for a few days I figured he wouldn’t show up. I was early and sat in the small park outside enjoying the sun. When I got into Union Chapel, which really is as beautiful as everyone says it is, I decided to go upstairs. I’ve never done that before and I was interested to explore and see what the sound was like up there. Well, the view was spectacular and the sound pretty top notch.

The first act was Malin Anderson, who has just put out her debut album, Follow. Buy it. She has a beautiful voice, plays lovely gentle guitar and has the confident stage presence of a much more seasoned performer. As Ian said “she has the full package.” Why she is more known is a mystery to me. She was worth showing up for alone.

I had instragmmed a photo of my view, which I’m glad I did because Ian was there and came to find me! He insisted on buying me a slice of gluten free beetroot red velvet cake (how was I to resist that?) and I moved back downstairs to be with him and his friend Magda for the rest of the gig. The cake was pretty good. Ian assured me the other 3 types of cake he had already eaten were also very good. Yes, he had 4 slices of cake. This is why Daylight Music is so brilliant, it is really relaxed and chilled and there is cake. Seated gigs at sensible times with cake. Why aren’t they all like this? 🙂

Our next act was Alisha Sufit who sang, what she accurately described as “traditional folk songs that I wrote last year.” I liked her, her voice was clear and high and rang out across the pews. My favourite was one she wrote in response to a too polite piece on Women’s Hour about internet trolls. It was angry and very funny. Playful, vicious lyrics sung in a lilting harmony and an upbeat melody, it was shocking and hilarious. I’d quite like a gif of it to send to mansplainers, trolls and abusers.

I must mention Hannah who was the inbetween act today. Daylight Music always have eclectic ‘filler’ acts (I’ve seen a toy piano for starters) but Hannah was brilliant. I’m not sure the 1877 organ has ever been used to play Sweet Child O Mine before, nor the Emmerdale theme tune, nor Bon Jovi. All of which were as bonkers and fantastic as they sound. There was something apt about hearing Livin’ On a Prayer played on a church organ. I don’t know why it worked, it just did.

Our last act was to be San Soucis Experience. This was a stripped down version of the band, lead singer on guitar, bass and 3 backing singers. Oh boy was it good. Shimmering, summery, feel good music with amazing bass and a lead vocal that was both jazz and soul all at once. It was like a secret spice blend, all the ingredients just mix together to make something special. They’ve released an EP recently and I’d recommend getting it. An album will follow I hope.

Huge thanks to Ben and the team of volunteers who put on Daylight Music, it must be a total labour of love, but you do a great job. I appreciated it being another all female line up too, thank you for championing female musicians and others on the margins of the industry.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you are in the vicinity of London on a Saturday lunchtime when Daylight Music is on, go. This was my fourth visit and I’ve found music to fall in love with each time. I even made some new friends this time!



One thought on “Daylight Music – Union Chapel, London

  1. I caught a Daylight Music Piano Day a few years ago. It’s was a beautiful afternoon. One of my favourite composers is Poppy Ackroyd (her music is on BBC Countryfile almost every week) and I forget the names of the two guys, but Haiku Salut also played. I absolutely recommend it.


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