November’s Cog Night saw us pump up the jam at Clapham Grand. A night of house history and disco anthems, delivered through the sweet sounds of Lips Choir. Michael steps us through the night of nostalgia.
When our Emily Kerr told us she was part of a choir, I must admit that the first images that came to mind were very much along the lines of the ‘traditional’ church choir. But when she told us that Lips Choir sing a pop, soul, and disco classics it was clear my assumptions couldn’t have been more wrong.
I was intrigued and luckily my curiosity would soon be satisfied. A concert was planned for November and we were all going for our Cog Night.
It was a cold and dark November evening but as soon as we stepped inside the beautiful Clapham Grand we knew it was going to be a special night, the place was positively buzzing.
Lips Choir is a non-auditioning, all-female, trans-inclusive, pop choir. The 100 strong collective have been together since 2009, and in that time have racked-up quite a list of achievements, having performed with artists such as Alison Goldfrapp and Leona Lewis, and at venues as diverse as Bestival, Wilderness, the Royal Albert Hall, the Union Chapel and the Coronet.
As the choir, and their (also all-female) backing-band, arrived on stage their neon and disco themed outfits glowed and sparkled under the bright lights and giant disco ball.
With each song we were taken further on a musical journey; from the origins of disco, via the second summer of love and acid house, right through to the 2018 re-emergence of rave culture.
The story was told through the vocal talents of Elliotte Williams N’Dure, Grace Savage (four times UK beatboxing champion) and musical director Jessie Maryon Davies.
We heard the very best of disco, garage, house and big 90s dance anthems, with classics such as Groove is in the heart, Pump up the Jam, Let me be your fantasy, You got the love… the list went on and on.
Lips were incredible, and their promise to deliver a ‘wall of sound’ was certainly met. Each song sung with energy, volume and passion. The audience were clearly delighting by every note, with no-one shy of dancing and singing along to their favourite ‘blast-from-the-past’ tunes (on the under-lit disco floor).
Some of us got even further into the spirit of the event by having their faces painted during the interval.
The night rounded off beautifully with an explosion of confetti (apparently a complete surprise to the choir!) and party-poppers, whilst Lips sang the concert finale Only love can set you free! What a great end to the night!
Lips Choir have certainly re-set my pre-conceptions about choirs and the forms they can take. It’s also clear, through their passion for music that these women have formed a highly supportive creative community. This is vividly clear through their energy on stage, their interactions with the audience and the music they make. It was a very inspiring evening and, above all else, an awful lot of fun!
If you’d like the chance to see Lips for yourself (and you really should) they also have a concert planned for New Years Eve. Details can be found here.
You can also get your fill of the songs from the evening on our Spotify Playlist (it’s certainly worth checking out).
Last, but not least, I wanted to mention that Lips are proud supporters of WAST (Women Asylum Seekers Together: refugeewomen.co.uk), an Islington-based grassroots movement run for women asylum seekers by women asylum seekers. It aims to support them with everything from English lessons to campaigning. All your donations are welcomed.
*Lips is a women’s choir for people who self-identify as female, trans and gender non-conforming.