Communion is a label doing wonderful things with wonderful new and immensely talented artists. Having championed rising stars, such as Amber Run, Jack Garratt, Port Isla, Fyfe and Catfish and the Bottlemen, to name literally just a few, they are the go to place for people looking to discover new music. Almost every new act I get excited about has had some form of interaction with Communion so I have a lot of trust in their taste when checking out new gigs. If it has the Communion seal of approval its a winner as far as I am concerned. Hence why I decided that for my first post here it would be fitting to post a piece I wrote (but never published) on my first ever Communion experience I had, a Josh Record gig in early February 2014.
We had secured our tickets just hours before after an intense social media plea that had kept me glued to my mobile for an hour, much to the clear dismay of my co-workers who struggled to get any material work from me.
When we arrived at Wilston’s Music Hall, an old venue nestled far from the beaten track, the doors had yet to open. The crowd was an eclectic mix of Shoreditch veterans in their mid-20s, cultured looking 40-somethings and excitable clusters of teens. All in all it was a far more civil affair than any gig I had ever experienced back home in Scotland. Being assured the gig would begin shortly we made our way over to the bar and got ourselves a pint. Drinks were surprisingly reasonably priced (less than £4 a pint).
After being finally ushered into the venue (we’re on pint number two) the seasoned made a beeline for the pewed seating at the back of the hall whilst others dotted themselves around the balcony. My friend and I positioned ourselves firmly in front of the stage, not wanting to miss any of the action. Sensing we still had a bit of a wait ahead of us until the support act appeared we made ourselves comfortable perching on a nearby speaker, whilst others sat cross-legged on the floor.
When the support act, Stephanie Fraser, took to the stage we respectfully, but begrudgingly, stood and turned our attention to the stage. I had heard of her music vaguely before, recognising her name from a line-up of Coffeehouse Session artists that had appeared at my University last year. Endearingly reminiscent of music’s latest IT girl Ella Eyre, the crowd instantly warmed to her. The room stood so quiet, you could have heard a pin drop across the other end of the venue during her performance. I had never been to, nor have I experienced since, such gentile respect for a performer that was not the main act. Top songs to listen out for are Walking Woman and Heal My Mind which are available to check out for yourself on her Soundcloud page. If there is any justice in the industry she will get her break soon.
The venue was, in a word, spectacular. Although we were slightly concerned about its structural integrity, and rightly so as I later learned it is amongst the oldest venues of its kind. It seems Josh Record shared our sentiments as he continually stopped to appreciate its beauty. His stage presence was calm and understated and, as you would expect from any immensely talented singer with an overwhelming sense of humbleness, he let his music do the talking. With an arrangement that was made for this kind of intimate gathering his voice soared effortlessly up to the balcony area, filling the old hall with sound. Personal highlights for me included a preview of upcoming single ‘For Your Love’ and a transcendent cover of Bon Iver’s ‘Flume’ (which my flatmate managed to capture a video of so you can check that out below).