For London, forever ago

Arrival [FLFA]

“I just can’t keep the pace”, even though I’m trying. Reviewing retrospectively though, it becomes obvious that certain stories were never really worth telling from the start. This one is ok I think. Two months ago I went to London for the music, it already feels like forever ago. I arrived in Heathrow on the afternoon of a sunny London monday, 16 hours after I had finally decided to go. She was on the same flight.

Union Chapel [FLFA]

Our paths had inevitably crossed before, Wien ist ein Dorf, but I had never been to a Soap&Skin show before. Somehow I never wanted to, finding merely excuses for others but rather for myself. I think I wanted to go alone and see alone and stay alone afterwards. With everything. The escape to London was perfect.

Soap & Skin [FLFA]

And so I sat there. Union Chapel. First row, left. Arcade Fire had played here, and so had Damien Rice, Snow Patrol, Goldfrapp or Hurts. Soap&Skin had played a couple of shows in London before as well, but this night at the old chapel surely was special.

Soap & Skin [FLFA]

Anja and her ensemble opened the show with Brother of Sleep, final song from Lovetune for Vacuum. In the audience, hearts stopped beating. The twisted marriage of frenetic applause and perfect quietness in between the songs got broken only once. This one *!/&%$ photographer – who would have thought – dared to press the release trigger of his camera, about a 100/sec after she lifted her hands from the piano and a song was over. “Click“. I would have died in shame.

Soap & Skin [FLFA]

This little incident aside, it was perfect. At least from my egocentric perspective. It was dark, fragile, scary and most beautiful. She finished the regular set with furious Marche fun√®bre. “I went to one of the most socially awkward gigs of my life”, a London based photographer wrote. Same goes for me. Win. It was the last Soap&Skin show in 2010.*

Union Chapel [FLFA]

Against expectations, I slept well later that night. K., who had survived living together with me in the same house in Australia four years ago, had kindly offered me her living room. It was a sunny London tuesday.

Camden Blueberries [FLFA]

From the house, to the street, to the centre, to the shop, to the pub and all the way to Camden town we went. When dusk fell, it was about time to mentally prepare for the second reason I had come to Britain.

Inside Camden [FLFA]

I took notice of Mike Hadreas aka Perfume Genius in August 2010. He had just released his debut album called Learning on Matador records. It was an instant love affair. I checked his tour plan and marked the London show. Just not to forget. I forgot. Until October 1st, when Matador records celebrated their 21st in Las Vegas. He shared the stage with Cat Power, Superchunk and Belle & Sebastian. I had to go to London.

Cecil Sharp House [FLFA]

As you already know I did. I could not do it any other way after finding out about the Soap&Skin show the day before Perfume Genius’. And the setting was special, again. He played at the Cecil Sharp House, which is home of the English Folk Dance and Song Society. A vegetarian cafe in the basement, museumesque employees and a big, dark, wooden hall. Gorgeous.

Perfume Genius [FLFA]

It could not have begun better than with Lookout, Lookout, the most intimate number on Learning. Eyes went blurry for a while. Hearts had stopped abruptly the night before, he and his frail falsetto made them melt. The outcome stays same.

Perfume Genius [FLFA]

Mike and I talked for a while after the show. He was happy to see someone flying to other countries to see him, I was happy only to see him in Europe. We agreed to meet again, as we do have common friends. And it might, might, might eventually be a very special occasion again.

Baker Street Station [FLFA]

If you wish to see some more photos of the trip in the slideshow, please go ahead. I did not take as many this time though. Thank you for your attention.

*Soap&Skin will be part of the Velvet Underground Gala at the Fluc in Vienna. Tonight!

December 15 2010 | music and photography and travel | | No Comments »
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