The Union Chapel in Islington has long been known as one of London’s most illustrious and stunning music venues. Not only because of its grand and neo-gothic décor, or traditional pew seating, but because bands and artists have longed to perform within its bold and vibrant acoustics. This was the setting for the latest in the Stand Up To Cancer events that have been running at the church for the last few years. With Lewis Capaldi performing at last year’s event, the stage was set for an even bolder line-up this time around with White Lies, Maisie Peters, Benjamin Francis Leftwich, Marika Hackman, Aaron Smith and Kitt Philippa all set to devote their time and energy to this incredible cause.
As a whole, the event was a tight and ever-flowing affair. With popular TV and radio presenter Vick Hope compering the event, it managed to flow with a rapid urgency seldom seen at many other multi-performer events. With all but White Lies performing acoustically for no longer than twenty minutes each, the crowd were never left in silence for too long and made for an well-paced and electrifying evening that never lost touch of its true cause.
One by one, the acts emerged onto the stage, carrying little more than their instrument of choice. The venues unforgiving acoustics were of little problem for any of the initial acts as they performed stripped back and intimate renditions of some of their most popular singles to date. With the exception of Maisie Peters, who performed alongside her backing ground, each artist was able to command the attention of the audience with a solo performance that left each audience member solemnly glued to their seats throughout. It may have been the strict and warming feeling that sitting in a church creates, but everyone remained transfixed and amazed at these serenades that were churned out one after another.
That was until White Lies approached the stage. The only act with a full backline of instruments, they were clearly the band that the majority of this crowd had come to see. All the rules and quiet solitude that the previous artists had created was thrown out the window as chair dancing, fist pumping, and smart phone videos filled the room as the group performed a retrospective set of some of their most beloved material. It was almost like experiencing the feeling of a true gig once again. The internal reflection and pause-for-thought that the night had felt like until that point was no longer on people’s mind and this event quickly became the bold and exciting celebration of life and music that we all knew it would become.
Stand Up To Cancer has always been a mixture of charity and stunning spectacle, all looking to deliver a evening that breathes life into music in all its forms, and this night was no different. Not only does it raise money for one of the most important causes in the modern world, but it does so with a element of flair and excitement that is so hard to replicate.