As the hustle and bustle of city life is left behind the doors of Bush Hall, fans enter into the intimate venue to be met by a modest stage complete with violin, cello, drums, piano and a microphone. Hardly a normal set up for a band but that would be because Iamthemorning aren’t your conventional run of the mill group. As people slowly begin to take their seats, it gives a chance to admire the decor, one of the attractions that have brought the Russian duo back to its hall for yet another round in a live setting.
In place of a backing track there is simply the soft tweeting of birds as the audience is greeted in this beautiful of settings. Opting for no support, tonight is ironically An Evening With Iamthemorning. As the doors shut slowly behind us its a cue for the arrival of the band. Stepping on stage both Marjana and Gleb are looking positively radiant and given the intimate setting aren’t nervous in the slightest. Best described as Chamber Music, the stars of the show are Gleb on piano and Marjana on vocals accompanied by a violinist, drummer, cellist and electric bass guitar. Once properly sat down, the duo begin the proceedings with “Inside”. Immediately beckoning the audience into their celestial like world of lachrymose storytelling and from that moment on Bush Hall is hooked.
With material spanning from their self titled record all the way up to their 2016 effort Lighthouse, Iamthemorning carefully choose their setlist tonight. Though part of the band’s charm is Marjana’s repartee with the audience. Particularly introducing the beautiful “To Human Misery”. Welcoming the audience, her modest yet incredibly sharp wit makes her perfect for the band’s compare. Beaming as she reveals to the audience that the band do actually have a happy song (shock horror!) which requires light audience participation Belighted’s “5/4” sees every member clapping their hands to a waltz like rhythm and some caught out by a mischievous Marjana. Opening the floor for both violin and cello “Touching II“s timid scurrying is slowly coaxed out of its hole becoming an increasing ear worm into the audience.
Taking her leave the stage is left open to Gleb Kolyadin and the chamber band to really shine in Lighthouse instrumental “Harmony”. Proving how versatile a player Kolyadin is, its a small sweet performance that would bring a grown man to tears. Making the waiting for Kolyadin’s solo album all the more painful! A shining moment for the band too, its main section brought together by electric bass giving it enough of a kick without drowning out the beautiful strings, owing in part due to Tori Amos’ sound engineer moonlighting with the band for this one off performance. A personal favourite of mine, the illusory allure of “Sleeping Pills” works even better in a live setting, with Kolyadin’s piano engulfing you in this conceptual mental struggle, easily a fantastic high point of the show. Yet just as the band can be serious so can they retain this playful intimacy. Introducing “Matches” with an anecdote involving a scared promoter and potential arson, its a fantastic segue into the jazz sensibility of “Chalk And Coal” and the end of the bands performance or so we think! Returning for a beautiful encore of “Os Lunatum”, the audience salutes the duo with a standing ovation, its the perfect way to finish what has been a truly unimaginable evening.
With a sound that could have the Royal Albert Hall hanging on every syllable yet delivered with an intimacy that would believe their performance was individual each member of the audience, Iamthemorning are a band like no other. Agreeing to treat the audience to not one but two unreleased tracks earlier, this is merely the tip of the iceberg, ensuring that when they will be ready for a new album, we’ve got oh so much to look forward to.