Wednesday night at St Stephen’s Church in Shepherd's Bush was the ultimate exception to the norm.
The Communion New Faces Tour showcased four of the UK’s most promising breakthrough acts of the last year, which culminated with a stunning display from Amber Run. After the electronic tones of Fyfe and Pixel Fix, combined with the powerful vocals of Kimberley Anne, the five-piece Nottingham-based band took to the hypothetical stage, in this case an altar, fashionably late around 10.15pm.
It wasn’t the first time they had graced the dramatic backdrop, and bassist Tom Sperring admits it holds a particular soft spot with the band after teaming up with Communion again after the Bushtock Festival earlier this year.
"The crowd was pretty nuts. It definitely felt a bit sacrilegious with them all drunk and dancing on pews, but it was wicked. It's an astoundingly beautiful setting for a show," declared the former law student.
The quintet, who signed to Sony’s record label last year, set the tone for a both versatile yet consistently mesmerising set by enchanting the gathering church crowd with their opening song ‘I Found.’ The church as a setting accompanied the powerful harmonies of the eerily beautiful first piece emphatically, with each individual note from lead singer Joe Keogh’s lyrics echoing and bouncing off the high ceilings and pillars in the venue.
Crowds soon started to disregard the typical seating arrangements in the church as fans began gathering in the aisles as they strived to get closer to the performance. While the venue remained blissfully unique, the display was now appearing to take the shape of an archetypal gig set.
Four fifths of the band herald from Buckinghamshire, before the majority of the group followed each other to university in Nottingham where the first utterings and foundations of what they have become today formulated. After fulfilling what was ultimately a dream opportunity with a gig on the BBC Introducing stage at Reading and Leeds in 2013, the band have since gone onto support Irish giants Kodaline on a UK tour, playing at Brixton Academy along the way.
They even recently played a hefty stone’s throw away from the church at the more contemporary music venue at Shepherds Bush Empire just a few weeks ago, as support to good friend Lewis Watson.
Tom added: "We’ve done cafés and restaurants that definitely haven’t worked. Try sound-checking a snare drum while people are trying to eat lunch – we cleared those places out. The most interesting place we played was on a beach in the south of France on a little bandstand. That was perfection."
Wednesday night’s set up was inherently unique compared to all of those occasions, and the group followed ‘I Found’ with the aptly soulful ‘Just My Soul Responding’ and latest single ‘Pilot’.
With the set now in full swing, the group treated the crowd to a rare play of '5am'; a record from their much-anticipated debut album expected in early 2015. They finished with three of their favourite singles to date; ‘Heaven’, ‘Spark’ and, perhaps fittingly given its biblical connotations, 'Noah'.
The crowd unified at the set’s climax with a predictable chant of ‘one more song’, to which the band responded gleefully with older track ‘Little Ghost’, with Joe admitting that it was the band’s first ever encore of sorts.
They next visit Oxford’s Art Bar before finishing the New Faces tour in Leeds next week, ahead of three of their own shows and a period of downtime over Christmas where they hope to develop more material for the coming year.
They have also just announced their biggest ever headline date at Dingwalls on 3rd February.
Judging by Wednesday night’s magical display, fans will be anxiously keeping their eyes peeled for even more delights.