Words + Photography by Cath Dupuy

With the sumptuous surroundings of Hackney Empire; red velvet curtains and a few flickering candles front of stage hinted at what was to be revealed, the anticipation for something very special was palpable!

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This Spiritualized gig was part of ‘Somewhere Festival’ launched by an art collective in Tokyo, now touring bringing unique performances in classic theatres with their trademark 1001 candles.

And special it was. The stage was glowing with pale flickering candles on a reflective floor, enveloping the two main musicians Jason Pierce AKA J. Spaceman and his keyboard player. Seemingly hovering behind them on raised platforms were a small gospel choir and an 8-piece string section.

Formed in 1990 Spiritualized have been through many transformations and for Jason personal health struggles. Last year saw the release of their eighth album, the first in 6 years, ‘And Nothing Hurts’ via the Bella Union label. Recorded entirely by Jason at his home, it took two years to complete, having to learn all the new digital techniques from scratch, no mean feat for a band used to massive studio arrangements. Tonight, his set incorporated many of their classic songs, including a wonderful gospel enhanced ‘Lord Can You Hear Me’ from Spaceman 3 days and a poignant tribute to Daniel Johnston ‘True Love Will Find You in the End’. Frequently described as ‘space-rock’ his performance tonight was more like a celebration of all things spiritual.

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