Friday, February 24, 2017

Live Review :: Charlie Cunningham :: Union Chapel, London - Feb 23 2017


Charlie Cunningham

Union Chapel, Islington, London

February 23 2017

Words/Pictures: Jess Sharrock

It was a big night for Charlie Cunningham, not only because it was his biggest headline show in the UK to date - and one which had also sold out before the day - but it was also in the incredible, echo filled church setting of Islington's Union Chapel.

For those unfamiliar with the Bedfordshire-born, London-based singer songwriter, Charlie has been buzzing around the music scene for the past few years, releasing a number of EPs including ‘Outside Things’ in 2014, ‘Breather’ in 2015 and last year's ‘Heights’. 2017 is already set to be a particularly big year with the release of ‘Lines’, Charlie’s critically acclaimed debut album, last month, a date at SXSW festival in Austin, Texas in March, plus a European tour.

After being based in Seville for a couple of years, Charlie has developed a distinctive, flamenco-inspired sound of emotive rhythms and flourishing guitar along with an ability to write beautiful, catchy lyrics. With a staggering 4.7million plays on Spotify alone, it would seem Charlie will be continuing to grace the music scenes for some time.

Following support from Bristol-based songstress Fenne Lily, Charlie and his band took to the stage to play songs from his current album including the synth enhanced 'An Opening', 'While You Are Young', 'You Sigh' and 'Lights Off', effective in its slow-burning intensity. Along with numbers from previous EP’s including ‘Lessleg’ and ‘Blindfold’ (both personal favourites of mine); the latter allowing Charlie's voice to soar against fingerplucked guitar as he relates the conversational style lyrics. The audience were held gripped in their pew seats - The Maccabees' Felix White being amongst the spellbound punters.

The encore saw the return of Charlie alone with his guitar to play a couple of songs from his first EP, 'Outside Things'. Each brought its own delicate melody; relaxed and captivating from the start, each delivered with a confidence and honesty that permeated throughout the chapel and beyond. Charlie Cunningham is without doubt an undeniable talent. With a standing ovation to close the set, I’m not sure it could get much better than that.

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