Bella Union is one of the better known independent record labels in the UK, having released albums by underground darlings Fleet Foxes, Beach House and Laura Veirs. Tonight’s gig at the Union Chapel is an opportunity to showcase the calibre of their artists, as well as warming hearts with Christmas-themed fun.

First act Lanterns on the Lake purvey soft, sweeping melodies involving a violin and an electric guitar, the latter often played like a second violin. Any tempting comparisons to Sigur Ros, what with their majestic tunes and whispered vocals, are fuelled further by the fact that singer Hazel Wilde is dressed like a Scandinavian maid.

Next up is Alessi’s Ark, the stage name for 20-year-old Londoner Alessi Laurent-Marke. The minimalist nature of her songs, with her acoustic guitar and an electric guitar from her back-up guitarist, suit both the nature of Union Chapel as a venue and her persona. Laurent-Marke has the demeanour of a friendly busker, typified in her between song banter, which consists mostly of declaring how overwhelmed she is by the “loveliness” of the occasion. She also laments the lack of on-stage small talk coming from her end, but with enchanting songs like ‘The Bird Song’ and the underplayed melancholy of ‘Constellations’, the audience would have been nothing but spoilt to ask for anything more from her.

Multi-instrumentalist Peter Broderick was given the headline slot after the unfortunate cancellation of Radiohead’s Phil Selway. He opens with a level of passion and frankness that he impressively maintains throughout his set. Going from piano to violin (which at one point he plays while racing up and down the length of the Chapel) to electric guitar, one constant in Broderick’s set is his adherence to laying his emotions bare onstage. By the end everyone is hanging onto every word of the slow-burning ‘Hello to Nils’ and encore track ‘Sideline’, with the entire venue so captivated that to breathe loudly would seem rude. Broderick preceded his set by telling the audience of his long day travelling to Islington from Spain, and we are all extremely grateful he made it.

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