Review: ΛS IT IS at All Saints Church

Hot on the heels of their biggest headlining show to date at the O2 Forum in Kentish Town, Brighton rockers ΛS IT IS put on an intimate acoustic show at Kingston’s very own All Saints Church on 4 December.

ΛS IT IS were represented at the gig by frontman Patty Walters and guitarist Benjamin Langford-Biss, with the rest of the band absent for this show which was presented by local independent record store Banquet Records.

Some people were calling the event an album release show. It was a little late if so, as the latest album came out in August this year. The album in question is called The Great Depression and is a discussion of mental health. It has come with a radical new look for ΛS IT IS, which amongst other things has seen frontman Patty Walters die his beautiful blonde locks black to match his painted nails, eyeshadow and guyliner.

The album’s colour scheme of Black and Red has also led to some pretty smart suit combos. However, on this occasion Walters was dressed down and Langford-Biss was wearing a red velvet shirt. The surroundings were perfect with the gothic setting of the church the ideal complement to the band’s new look.

Impromptu support act steals the show

Before the show had even started there were problems, when the support band did not show up. Not to let a little thing like that hold them up ΛS IT IS came outside to ask fans in the line if anyone could play and wanted to be their support. At this point they found Ellie, a very talented woman who started the festivities off by playing some amazing covers: from YUNGBLUD’s Polygraph eyes to Fall Out Boy’s Young Volcanoes.

For someone who had no time to prepare and had never performed in front of so many people, Ellie did an excellent job. The crowd was singing along and she proved to be the perfect warm-up act, so perhaps it was a good job the original support did not show.

Th main act then emerged, to whoops and cheers from their small audience who had been patiently sitting in anticipation. They kicked straight in with a couple of songs from The Great Depression including The Handwritten Letter. It was nice to hear these stripped back versions, which the boys let slip they had only learned a few days earlier. They followed up those songs with some from their previous album okay and the crowd was lapping them up. The acoustic versions of their songs were adapted beautifully and it was almost as if they had been written that way originally. A highlight of the show was when they merged a cover of Stacey’s Mom into their own song Cheap Shots and Setbacks, much to the delight of their fans.

Fans pass on their messages

Playing a range of songs meant tuning their guitars on three occasions during the set. Like any good band they didn’t want to leave us hanging and bored, so they arranged a little entertainment. Question time with their touring guitarist Ronnie Ish quickly became ‘Rip it with Ron’. It was quite amusing to start with but soon became a chance for fans to get their personal messages to the band, including passing up gifts and letters.

Rather unsurprisingly it was a short set, lasting about an hour with plenty of stop starting and onstage banter. The band took the opportunity to thank their fans for their support in the transition from their old sound to the new one and for letting them be themselves.  They finished up with the song Dial Tones and talked about how worried they had been that the people that loved that song may not accept their new ones. They ended the evening by thanking the crowd for joining in their conversation about mental health, one that is obviously very important to them.

The Great Depression is out now on Fearless Records.

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