The devil might have all the best tunes, but the Union Chapel is proof that him downstairs knows bugger-all about architecture. The Grade I-listed gothic masterpiece, completed in 1877, is still used as a working church and help centre for London’s homeless.
Noble purposes, to be sure, but equally uplifting is the effect the environment has on performances – and performers. Put simply, bands raise their game when they’re playing the Union Chapel – it’d be sacrilege not to – and the spellbinding surroundings and acoustics mean it still beats the crap out of the most modern, purpose-built venue the twenty-first century has to offer.
While it made its name hosting acoustic nights and occasional jazz shows, the Union Chapel has since become a magnet for the thinking bands and their fans, particularly as part of the rightly lauded Little Noise Sessions for Mencap.