Union Chapel to host Willkommen Collective's coming-out party

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The Independent Culture

Willkommen Collective, a loose community of folk-centric young bands based in Brighton, launched a record label last year and next Friday, it's hosting a coming-out party at the Union Chapel in Islington, London.

"It's a really exciting show," says Marcus Hamblett, who plays double bass in Sons of Noel and Adrian and Shoreline. "We're decorating the chapel with boats and trees like a mystical forest. We're starting with a set by Kopek, who'll have an amplifier in the centre of the chapel facing up and making ambient loops to fill the chamber with sound. Then Rowan Coupland is doing a set from the balcony."

The Collective's leading lights originated in Burton upon Trent, where Nick Hemmings once played in a band with film director Shane Meadows and actor Paddy Considine. Hemmings, Jacob Richardson and Tom Cowan moved to Brighton seperately, but when Cowan wanted to form a band he called his old friends. Once they and their fellow band members were assembled, says Hamblett, "They realised there were four or five songwriters, so they formed splinter bands with similar line-ups but different songwriters."

Those bands became Shoreline (with Cowan songwriting), Sons (Richardson) and The Leisure Society (Hemmings), who were recently nominated for an Ivor Novello Award. A recent Willkommen compilation CD featured songs by 18 different bands, each comprising iterations of the same two dozen or so musicians. The Union Chapel show is one of a series of summer "Willkommen take over..." events. On 5 July, the Collective is staging a concert in the grounds of Stanmer House near Brighton and on 30 August Willkommen's roadshow arrives at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-On-Sea.