So rarely do live bands meet the lofty expectations of listeners in this digital-age of short attention spans, and even more rarely do artists exceed such expectations. Anybody who’s been reading b3science on the norm knows that Chapel Club has been a steady mainstay on our radar since we first heard “Surfacing” last year. On Monday October 25, 2010 Chapel Club made their Los Angeles debut opening the Monday night residency at Spaceland, and those privy to witnessing this unpromoted show of their brief NY and LA live stint were in for a pleasant surprise.
Becoming known for their unique blending of dissonant guitar layers, pop melodies, and less than traditional song arrangements, Chapel Club are a Rock band, and of the few bands I’ve witnessed that make their statement (which is already profound on tape) even more strongly in a live setting. Which is quite incredible given that these guys have only been together almost 2 years now. With their debut Paul Epworth produced LP expected to drop January 31, 2011, Chapel Club have only trickled out a select handful of new releases to the public, and have managed to gain support from the blogoshphere as well as major british press including the BBC and NME. Each track of theirs, one after another, explores different structures and themes, while maintaining an unquestionable sonic identity. This is a collective of artists, who’s music translates on their terms and at their pace. A dying art in pop music no doubt, and should Chapel Club continue down their path of artistic integrity they just may be able to craft one of those timeless albums, worthy of decades of influence.
Watching frontman Lewis Bowman on stage, his shy star quality shines through, and when the band isn’t orchestrating Sonic Youth inspired dynamics between chilled-out riffs worthy of classic Smiths and My Bloody Valentine nods, his baritone voice takes charge of a captive audience with authority and nonchalant charm, filling the room with an endless sense of anticipation. Anticipation is actually a quite good word to describe the Chapel Club experience. Standout songs of the evening which included “Surfacing”, “O Maybe I”, “Five Trees”, and closer “All The Eastern Girls”, all traveled a road of intricate, detail oriented song-writing with poetic lyrics, coupled with a sensibly-dark pop music appreciation.
Needless to say, this was a show I was simply happy to be at. With all the music we absorb here at blahblahblahscience, it was one of those rare moments where I could place myself out of the music industry arena, and simply be a fan. I bought my 12-inch The Shore – EP and made small talk with the band, learning that they plan to return stateside around March for some dates. I’m assuming it all has something to do with SXSW, but either way I’ll be sure to be there. Chapel Club are the sort of band that you can’t wait to see where they are at in 3 or so years… and so with that, we’ll keep you posted.
Reviewed by b3