Agnes Obel Live Review
Union Chapel, London - 08/11/11
The autumnal marriage between Islington's Union Chapel and the music of Danish born, Berlin based pianist and singer-songwriter Agnes Obel was one almost literally made in heaven.
Obel's sparse, hymnal songs and instrumental compositions worked wonderfully in the Chapel setting, with the reverential audience hooked on every note and word.
Playing a set drawn mainly from her debut album Philharmonics, Obel was joined onstage by multi-instumentalist Anne Müller playing cello, guitar and melodica, and harpist Gillian Fleetwood - both of whom also contributed to stunning vocal harmonies.
Performed live by the trio, Philharmonics' songs gained a richer and fuller sound than their album versions - which mainly feature Obel as the sole, if multi-tracked, singer - and helped bring warmth out from the sometimes glacial originals.
Highlights from the night included the instrumental Wallflower, singles Riverside and Just So, set closer On Powdered Ground and Obel's take on Elliot Smith's Between The Bars which she encored with.
Obel's music draws on classical and folk music most obviously, but the strength of her songs and beauty of her voice mean it's not such a leap to imagine her appealing a wider pop market.
Philharmonics has already reached double platinum status in Denmark and won Obel a raft of awards, and her success is now spreading across northern Europe - judging by tonight's show it's surely only a matter of time before she reaches the same heights in the UK too.