The Revival Tour

Stepping into Union Chapel on a Winter’s night, it seems more likely that this audience is attending a carol service rather than a gig; the polite chatter amongst the crowd, as they sit on cold pews, staring in awe at the stunning stained glass and huge space- the space in which Emily Barker and her Red Clay Halo step onto, one by one, every movement seen and heard by the sold out crowd. Starting with ‘Nostalgia’, the lyrics “twelve thousand miles away from your smile” seem somewhat inappropriate in this chapel, in which the spirituality and classicism are connective and magnetic.

The Revival Tour

‘Ropes’ sounds a little bit like Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’ vocally, which is never a bad thing, and works perfectly with the soft and slow movement of the set so far. The pace is quickened with a new track, ‘Letters’, a heartfelt story of her own family’s troubles during the second World War. ‘Disappear’ is folk in its purest form, before the band leave her for ‘Home’, a breathtaking acoustic track which reaches every corner of the chapel. ‘Dear River’ is more electric, and better for it; the ears are treated with the vocals going just that bit louder and all the more spine tingling. ‘Fields Of June’ sees none other than tourmate Frank Turner join the band onstage, his familiar vocals resting upon the audience, who remain quiet and respectful throughout the set. The set ends with Calendar, an Autumnal song which leaves the gig on a positive note.

The Revival Tour

The encore was the definite high-point of the set, however. ‘Look Out For My Love’ saw all seven members of Emily’s touring band on the small stage covering the Neil Young track. This song had everything; warm, earthy chords, finely picked ukulele, tuneful strings, perfect harmonies and a light, tapping beat which captivated and kept all eyes on the front of the chapel, away from the beauty of the carved stone and history, and onto the even more beautiful music pulsing inside of it. Emily Barker played a perfect set, and the Union Chapel did not let her down. A relaxed, inspiring set from the folk songstress and her brilliant band.

Gig Review by Chloe Gynne
Gig Photos by Lee Allen taken at The Revival Tour, Birmingham, 2012

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