The World’s End, Finsbury Park
Sunday 24th March 2013
I had heard many good things about this regular and well-regarded music night in Finsbury Park, but whenever plans had been made to attend circumstances beyond my. . . blah, blah, blah. Anyway, I finally made it and am very pleased I did.
W.E. Love Sundays (as the event is known) is hosted by the no-nonsense but lovely Kal Lavelle, a talented musician in her own right. Like me, she finds it infuriating and inconsiderate when certain people turn up at gigs and are boorish and selfish, making a noise and generally behaving like cocks while others are trying to enjoy the music. Kal, politely but in no uncertain terms, laid down the ground rules – basically, shut the fuck up or piss off into the bar next door so that the rest of us can enjoy the show. She is to be applauded for so doing.
The opening act of the evening was unfamiliar to me, a singer/songwriter called Jon Paul Palombo, from Halifax, which I’m told is somewhere in the north. He has a terrific voice and plays with energy and aplomb. Comparisons to someone like Jason Mraz are not a million miles off the mark and the crowd thoroughly enjoyed his performance, setting the bar high for the rest of the evening. I shall be keeping an eye out for this talented guy as I would like to see him play again.
Next up was the wonderful Rhiannon Mair. Regular readers will be aware of my enthusiasm for this girl and her music so I shall not labour the point. Suffice to say her effervescent style and unique vocal quality did not disappoint and the crowd became fully involved in her set. A particular highlight was a stunning and tender rendition of her song Letting you Love Me, a track from her debut album It Goes Like This, due out in April.
The final act of the advertised line-up was a pretty young thing by the name of Raphaella. It was something of a surprise when this softly spoken, slight-of-frame girl began to sing because she had real power and depth to her voice. There is an emotional maturity in her songs, a rarity for one so young. Of English/Persian extraction, she reminded me of an early, soulful Alicia Keys before she got all pretentious and up her own arse. With a guitarist for company she played keyboards and sang her little heart out.
However, a couple of songs in she told us she was going to cover a Justin Bieber song. I considered leaving immediately, rarely have I felt so insulted. Normally, I couldn’t be persuaded to cross the road to piss on someone like Justin Bieber, even if alight, but I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt. I’m glad I did. I couldn’t tell you what song she covered (and I don’t much care) but she stripped it down to a keyboard ballad and nailed the sucker as her own. Justin who? Raphaella is a very talented songsmith and musician and has one hell of a voice – don’t say I didn’t warn you. Her debut EP Idiot, is due out on 1st April.
An unexpected pleasure was having Antonio Lulic in the house, who was persuaded to play a couple of songs. Borrowing Rhiannon’s guitar, and with Kal on backing vocals, Antonio tore the place apart in his own inimitable way with a quite brilliant cameo.
Closing the show, Kal played a couple of her own songs. Songs about. . . well, sex. Because she can. Her gorgeous voice and passionate delivery are perfectly suited to the subject matter, describing the physical, emotional yearning for someone else we all feel. Few people write and sing about sex like Kal Lavelle. And nobody does it better.
So, without reservation this was a fantastic night of music courtesy of a great pub, a fantastic host and some very talented musicians. Kal Lavelle deserves much credit for the calibre of the talent invited to play and I cannot recommend this regular music night highly enough.