If you go down to St. Pancras area of London, you’re sure to be surprised. Straddled alongside the railway lines and some typical blocks of flats sits a magical building called the St. Pancras Old Church. Tonight it was taken over by the artist Phildel to launch her album ‘The Disappearance Of The Girl‘ to the media and some lucky fans who managed to cram into this most beautiful of churches. Arriving early I was lucky enough to get a front row seat but I’m sure the chairs were made for smaller folk than me. Situated next to me were cameras at the ready and people chatting in anticipation of what was to follow. This gave the opportunity to hook up with some new and old acquaintances before the show began.
The lights went down and in walked three masked dancers each in a white robe and holding a candle. They then proceeded to dance around the candles now on the floor to a new instrumental piece by Phildel which was receiving its first public airing. The band emerged during this all with their faces covered in white face paint illuminated by the candlelight. Stage smoke bellowed out and through it Phildel took to the stage in a dark black dress. A distinct contrast to the other women whom looked resplendent clad in white gowns, all of which were designed by Henrietta Ludgate. The audience fell silent as she approached the microphone to begin.
As this was a showcase to her album then it was fitting the set began with ‘The Disappearance Of The Girl‘. Cameras began to work into overdrive as she sang with such conviction. This was quickly followed by a rousing rendition of ‘Storm Song‘, which grows in stature with every performance. This as was every song greeted by warm applause by those fortunate to be here tonight. Next ‘Union Stone‘ began with Phildel sat at the piano. I could hear the two young girls, sat behind me, excitedly whisper the song’s name. I assumed like me it’s a favourite of theirs. As usual the arrangement was slightly different, something I admire in her work as she’s never afraid to tweak a track. The backing vocals were really divine.
‘Afraid Of The Dark‘ is another song which has risen in my eyes, with Chris on keyboards contributing to the ambience of it. The thing about Phildel she surrounds herself with musicians of note. Both Bryony James (cello) and Oliver Lowe (drums) were making their debuts on stage with her and not that you could tell; it was flawless. ‘Beside You‘ again with its string accompaniment worked wonderfully within the confines of the church. Next came the show stopping ‘Moonsea‘, that’s just waiting for a James Bond writer to pen a novel of that name. The drums echoed behind her voice as we the crowd watched in awe.
Phildel announced the next song which is very poignant to her, ‘The Wolf‘, and as if by cue the stage lighting fused as it began. Not a twitch from the band as they continued to play with such conviction. Out of the darkness the video camera lighting was turned on by the quick thinking Lydia who was tonight filming the set. With that one solitary light pointed towards the stage the effect seemed to work very well. Just as the song concluded the malfunctioning lights were once again restored, though I doubt many realised what had actually happened. ‘Dare‘ really sounded like a hymn tonight with the backing vocals sounding like a heavenly host of angels. Never have I been to a concert where everyone was silent during each song, as if under her spell. ‘Funeral Bell‘ then followed suit as it does on the album. Here to the sound worked so well in the within the walls of this ancient building. All that was missing was a hand clap beat to turn this into a cool gospel song. I’m sure Phildel would have thought about this at some point, but who am I to say.
Like all good things there has to be an end and the piano echoed in ‘Switchblade‘ sang with the same focus as those cameras that panned on her at the piano. The band supported her majestically when called upon. At the end she thanked us all, but really we should be thanking her for giving us such a splendid evening. The two young fans applauded vigorously as the band left the stage. I was told later they were made up that she made time to talk to them even though she was here ultimately to announce herself to the media. Phildel doesn’t just make a good cup of tea, she makes music that’s memorable.
The Disappearance Of The Girl – Album Review – Click Here
Q & A – 10 Questions For Phildel – Click Here