[center]Live Gig Review:
The Popes of Chillitown
3rd of November – Headline Slot for Oxjam
Edwards Bar, Hammersmith[/center]
There are certain venues when you just walk through the door and think – yeah this is going to be a good gig. There are others where you think – ah, …ok… The Edwards Bar in Hammersmith took a bit of finding despite it being opposite the tube station and was small and quite quiet when I arrived. The downstairs bar was being filled with cheesy disco music and was complete with huge glitter ball… not the type of place I would imagine a band such as The Popes Of Chillitown playing. Their loud, exciting sound seemed strange in a quite, dare I say it, sensible looking venue. The night was in aid of raising money for Oxjam, who run quite a few music events during the year. The entrance price was pretty good for the number of bands you got to see, but it was a very intimate venue. For those who have been to this Edwards before know that the stage upstairs isn’t so much a stage as a living room – but with a bar instead of a telly. And how could a band with such a big sound like the Popes of Chillitown be received in such a small arena? The answer is stonkingly well!
The Popes of Chillitown are a six-piece band that may not necessarily look like a band, but sound like they are part of the same person. The sound they produced is fat with a ph. They were never overpowering but in such a small space the sound went above and beyond you. Oz’s carefully shifting vocals in a song like their opening number ‘Prove Me Wrong’ soars over the audience and mixes with the other careful lines and harmonies to create something more exciting than your average funk-infused rock band. The songs The Popes played all have a driving beat – accented by strong guitar riffs and funky bass lines. Definitely songs you can dance along to as well as rhythms that lift your mood, which is why when I’ve seen them play in the past the crowd has always been loving it. Some songs subtly shift in beat and you’re left with a reggae-bounce, such as on ‘Whos To Say’, before they build up the pace once more resulting in an exciting shift to the songs.
The front man of the band is Oz (Pope on A Rope) and it makes a nice change to see a band with such a strong vocal as well as an engaging personality that is exciting to watch. Being gracious to the organisers and even giving a shout out to the previous bands is not unfamiliar to Oz’s routine. Not only does he have manners, but also it is also thrilling to watch him and the guitarist Ewan (Dark Pope) leap from any high surface in a true rock-god-style. This sense of entertainment and passion for what they are doing shines through. When listening to the Popes you get a clear sense that they all love what they’re doing and if the band loves it the audience is soon to follow.
Tonight the Popes gave us eight songs, some of their older material like ‘Lazy Sunday’ (my personal favourite) and ‘Prove Me Wrong’ but also some new material including ‘la Misere D’Entace’ a tribute to one of their main influences – Tryo. We were also given a listen to the new tracks ‘End ‘Em All’ which is due to be released on EP in 2008. The older tracks were much tighter and exciting in their performance, precision and the personal flair given from each of the members of the band. All members were given the chance to shine through the night – with solos and the spotlight handed to other members. This added more spice to the songs – the sexy tenor sax solos from Liz (saxypope) and the funk-tastic bass lines from Arvin (Toke Pope) were well performed and technically exciting to listen to. Never were the older songs stale on re-listening rather they were tuned further, more polished and more exciting to listen to.
If you have a chance I would definitely pop down to one of the Pope’s gigs and catch some of their music. Their followers are always friendly and welcoming to new Pope’s fans. The Popes of Chillitown have been seen at venues large and small, including an acoustic set, and play just as well if they’re supporting acts or Headlining themselves. You’re guaranteed a night of energy-driven music that you’re going to want to listen to again and again!
For further info go to: www.myspace.com/popesofchillitown or join their group of Facebook!
Written by Rachael for UKEvents.net
Ashlee gives her views on the music industry. Guaranteed to tell it like it is !!
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