“ Artist: Matt Cardle / Musical Events Type: Concerts / Music Events Location: Glasgow, Warwick, Manchester, Cambridge, London „
Those who know me, or who regularly read my reviews know that I am a massive fan of Matt Cardle and have been ever since I saw him first audtion for the X Factor. Whilst Matt has since gone seperate ways to Simon Cowell to be able to be his own man and not be left to rot whilst Simon promotes the act who came third on the show to boost his own pocket he is still working hard and recently completed a tour of a few dates at intimate venues where it was completely stripped back to basics. I actually went to two of the gigs those being at the Lowry in Manchester and Union Chapel in London. For the purpose of this review I will focus on the Union Chapel gig.
Union Chapel is situated on Compton Terrace in London. The nearest tube station is Highbury and Islington on the Victoria line and once you exit the station there you just turn right and can actually see the Chapel in the background as it is quite imposing on the sky line. Should you be driving the post code for the front entrance of the Chapel is N1 2UN.
The Chapel is a functioning one which has services through the week but it is also used for concerts and other such events where meals and hot drinks are served by volunteers to raise money for the in house homelessness charity that they run. There is also a bar accessible from the inside of the Chapel which only opens for concerts and which usually opens at 7pm and will serve after the show too. Card payments are taken but only for those over £10.00 so it is a better idea to take cash.
The Chapel is actually so beautiful inside. I am not a religious person by any means but you cannot help but think that it is gorgeous when you get in there with traditional wooden pews to sit on, stained glass windows and quite an imposing stage too. There are pews right in front of the stage and then there are some to each side as well as well as some seating up in the balcony areas too. From what I am led to believe the venue can hold around 850 people and so in terms of a concert it is quite intimate really.
Seating is unreserved at the Chapel given that they are pews not individual seats and so you need to get there early. Doors open at 7pm and we were queuing from 3pm with friends. Some people had been there since 11.30am. We were lucky that some of our friends held our spot whilst we spent a couple of hours round the back waiting for Matt to arrive at the venue but he was rushing and couldn't stop for pictures before the show! We were near to the front of the queue and managed to get the third row in the centre pews which was close to the stage and gave us an excellent view.
==Matt Cardle Unplugged==
Matt released the album the fire back in October 2012 and decided that he would do a small tour around the UK and Ireland in some small, intimate venues as he wanted to take things back to basics and just have him, his guitar and a keyboard player on the stage. There was going to be no fuss, just plain and simple singing. As I said I went to the Manchester gig too as this was the closest to me but one drunken night I decided I really wanted to go to the gig in London too as it was the final night and a lot of my friends that I have met through being a Matt Cardle fan on twitter were going too. I live up in Lancashire so the trip was around 500 miles there and back but I can honestly say I would have travelled double that and would just to see it again!
Matt was supported by two acts at the Union Chapel gig. One I had seen at Manchester and the other I hadn't seen at all. First came the act I didn't know who was a man named Azu and who is on Twitter under @azuonline should you want to have a look and check him out. He was such fun and really had the crowd joining in with his performances and things. He had a really nice, soulful voice and he was a real pleasure to listen to. Second came the artist I had seen at Manchester and her name was Jain Wells....yes, Jain spelled like Rain. She had to say that each concert and she became known as that by the fans who had seen her perform! Jain has an unusual sound to her voice and is quite spiritual I think. I believe she is a pyschologist too and you can tell by the songs she writes! Jain's music wasn't really my cup of tea and I found her performance style a little awkward to be honest.
Matt came on stage at 9pm and performed for an hour and fifteen minutes. The license at Union Chapel insists that gigs are done by 10.30pm at the latest. What was great in this show was that Matt did a range of his own songs from both the Letters and The Fire album but he also sang some covers that mean a lot to him and so there was a real good mix to the gig. The simplicity of the gig was apparently when Matt came on and there was just a chair, his guitars, microphone and the keyboard set up on the stage.
Matt began the set singing Letters from the first album and as soon as he began singing I knew that we were in for a treat. He also sung When We Collide, Amazing and Faithless from the old album which I think is a nice mix of songs. We were also treated to Amy Winehouse's "No Good" which was probably the first many of us heard from Matt as it was his X Factor audition song and so that was a really nice moment too.
Covers wise we were given Thank You by Alanis Morissette and Set Fire To The Rain by Adele which was a song he covered on Radio One live lounge and which fans have been begging him to do live ever since! Listening to him sing Set Fire To The Rain was simply incredible and he pours such emotion in to everything that he sings that you become mesmorised by him and it is impossible to take your eyes off him. There are videos on you tube from the gig and if you have time definitely check out Set Fire To The Rain. It is perfect in every way.
From the second album, The Fire, we were given the songs Water, All that matters, It's only love, Anyone else, Lately and The first time ever I saw your face. Water was incredible. It is such an emotional song about losing someone and the pain you go through when you do and as Matt recently his Grandmother you could see the pain as he sung the song. The emotions were raw and yet he sang it impeccably. All that matters is a track which makes me feel emotional when I hear it on a CD and seeing him sing that live brought tears to my eyes. No artist has ever done that to me before and I think that says an awful lot about the emotion Matt Cardle pours in to his songs. We must not forget that he has written the bulk of The Fire and so these tracks are personal to him and will bring memories be it good or bad. A few times in this set he needed a few seconds to just compose himself but this just makes him more human and more special to the fans. Lately was absolutely stunning and what I find incredible is how he sounds as good, if not better, live as he does on a recording. For me that is a true artist. I went to the take me home tour that one direction did this year and whilst I enjoyed it vocally they don't come anywhere near what Matt Cardle does and he really does deserve so much more recognition than he actually gets. The final song performed was the first time ever I saw your face and I would urge everyone to get on to you tube and search for him performing this at Union Chapel. There are loads of fan videos on there and it really does show everything I love about Matt Cardle. He is so emotional when he sings but he has an incredible strength to keep it together to just blow you away.
The acoustics in the Chapel really suited Matt's voice and although I saw him perform in an arena as part of the X Factor tour and he was perfect then too I can honestly say the performance in Union Chapel was better than I could have ever imagined and as you can tell I am a massive fan so I would have been expecting a lot. His voice carried all the way through the Chapel and I'm sure everyone, no matter where they were sat, were massively impressed. I did hear after the show that many people who had been dragged along by friends or partners were massively converted.
He blew me away in Manchester, my friend who has been to many gigs including big bands and artists had said it was the best gig she had ever been to and she had never heard anyone as good live. However in London he took it up another notch and was simply incredible. I didn't think it was possible for him to get better but he did. Whether it was due to the fact that family and friends were there or that it was the last night of the tour I don't know but I am so pleased I was able to go and experience it. What is beautiful with Matt is how humble he is. You can tell he is so pleased to be up there doing what he loves and having people appreciate what he does. He says thank you, a lot! He knows he does this but we know that he means it. The relationship that he has with Paul Bullen his friend and keyboard player is also really evident and they work so well together as they just seem completely in sync.
After the show lots of fans went round to the stage door where we waited from about 10.30pm until 1am! That is some dedication when you don't have a coat and are bloody freezing but you really want a cuddle with Matt! When he came out at 1am he had had a few drinks but was in wonderful form. He gave me the biggest cuddle and really held on tight. I think I like tipsy Matt Cardle even more than regular Matt Cardle! I told him he was incredible tonight and he was so gracious thanking me, thanking me for coming and then we had our photo taken where again he held on very tight! I went back to the hotel on a massive high and this was all because of such a sweet and humble man. Not many artists will come out and spend an hour or so with fans taking pictures and chatting and this is why those of us that love him will continue to spend money, travel and peck peoples heads bigging him up because he really is special.
I absolutely cannot wait for album three now which he is already working on. If you have time please check out some of the you tube links from Union Chapel! I'd love to know what you think if you do check them out!
Thanks for reading my review!