The Choir Invisible at Whelan’s – Review
The Choir Invisible played Whelan’s on Thursday 15th of August
The sharply, and quirkily, dressed band adorned the stage with flowers before starting their set in front of a large audience for the cosy Whelan’s venue.
They dove into first track, ‘Richard and Elizabeth’, with no intro. It had a great indie sound to it and was reminiscent of the opening music of series Misfits. The guitarists teamed up on the vocals at the chorus and had the audience rocking their heads and the guitar had moments that were not wholly unlike Two Door Cinema Club’s quirky riffs.
‘Your Boyfriend’ followed quickly after with a tribally funky drum opening. The bass really hit you right between the ears in this track. The Virgin Mary statues on the amp seemed to almost be dancing along. The wild instrumentals saw the guitarists moving around the stage, possessed by the passion of the music.
The band kicked off the next track with the intriguing question ’Who wants to burn down Topshop?’, a similar line to which featured in the chorus of ‘Make-up Tips’. This tune had an old-school, jivey sound with fantastical guitar and quirky lyrics which helped to create a really fun atmosphere with toes tapping and shoulders shimmying. The drums got fiercer and more badass towards the end to round it off to a great ending.
‘Teletext’ followed this in an extraordinary style. The band got a nifty little rhythm on repeat as the guitars gradually wailed together like musical sirens. Each band member’s expression was on of total absorption in their individual instruments. Suddenly the bass kicked in and everything came together. This was a long, instrumental number that really got into its stride after a short count in on the drum which was followed by a swell of much more unified sound in comparison to the more broken-up opening. There was a lot of fantastic variation in this song and it really showed off the band’s incredible ability and individual skills.
They took a brief moment to mention their EP, Hundreds and Thousands, before moving into ‘Changing my Spots’. On the opening, the vocals contrasted slightly with the music before it became a jumpy, danceable number with a cracking indie-rock chorus and bass drum that shook the floor!
They obviously had a core group of friends and fans at the gig because people sang along and made plenty of noise despite the limited space! Everyone laughed when lead singer Alan commented that ‘the super trooper lights’ were blinding him. Their next song was ‘Mercenary Dance’, which had a very unique sound, and brought something a bit different to the set, it had folksy, chilled out vocals and mellow electric guitar even after the louder, breakout chorus. There were a few hints of the alternative style of Modest Mouse.
By this stage of the evening, ears were already ringing and the energy was buzzing. Both these feeling were hit hard again by the kicking drum and bass of the next track ‘The Exile Drive’. The psychedelic guitar joined in and the music picked up speed, rapidly racing towards the chorus with clashing cymbals. There was a contrast between moments of mellow, unified sound and other sections with emphasis on the guitar or with the clashing cymbals. Even with all this different stuff gouing on in the instrumental, this was a track where you could really get into the lyrics.
‘A French Kiss’ was an intriguing number, bringing another little variation to the group’s style. It had an interesting effect on the guitar, bluesy, almost like a 50s slow dance. Drum, bass and vocals joined in to create gentle, easy to listen to and slightly melancholy track. There were a few moments with heavier drums and lyrics that seemed to be building but it was, for the most part, a very smooth, even track.
Their penultimate song was the title track of their EP. ‘Hundred and Thousands’ kicked off really nicely with the guitar before the bass strummed in and the whole thing kicked into a really rhythmic tune which could be the soundtrack to something great. Again, there was plenty of variation within the song, showing off the group’s incredible versatility and earning its place as the title track.
Their final track, ‘City on a Hill’, started with a kickass percussive line. The whole number was really lively, fun and upbeat. The music pumped you up and made you feel like going out and partying, or adventuring or having a good time! There was a really lovely moment where it quietened down and put the focus on pumped up drums. The other instruments subtly rejoined to build up to an incredible wave of sound that reverberated around the venue for a blinding, moving finish!
The Choir Invisible brought a completely different flavour to the night, one that contrasted but worked well with that of the other band of the night Workhouse Brides. This band were clearly in love with their music and their individual instruments and their music was unique, gifted and powerful. They really showed of the persona and personality of the band in their music, staging and styling with the decoration and the ribbons on their guitars. A really fantastic show!
Review by Kat Clinch