Choir of Young Believers at the Spaceland, Los Angeles, CA, October 21st, 2009 | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, May 28th, 2024  

Choir of Young Believers

Choir of Young Believers at the Spaceland, Los Angeles, CA, October 21st, 2009,

Oct 23, 2009 Choir of Young Believers
Bookmark and Share

As any music snob will readily admit, one of the greatest joys in life is catching a little known band before they break big. Pardon me for braggingas I presumptuously swirl my drink and haughtily raise my nose skywardbut when Choir of Young Believers claw their way out of obscurity and into larger venues, you’re in for quite a treat.

The solo project of Jannis Noya Makrigianni, his touring choir was filled out by three additional young believers, including a cellist who adeptly handled the Makrigianni’s multi-layered string arrangements. After his debut album This is For the White in Your Eyes had worked its way into my regular listening rotation, it seemed unlikely that so few people could make so much music. As they took the stage (Makrigianni’s remarkable mountain-man beard leading me to actively ask, “who’s the main dude?”) I braced myself for an evening of mini-approximations of the songs I’d grown to love.

Oh yee of little faith.

While scaled back, the band managed to recreate the same intensity of the albumwith the help of a few well-placed distortion pedals that left Makrigianni’s vocals drenched in a delicious reverb. (Next stop: My Morning Jacket covers.) Meticulously crafted songs were routinely drawn out to twice their original length, giving the performance more in common with 1960 and psychedelic rock than orchestral pop. (Or, as my companion quipped, “Andrew Bird in the Age of Aquarius.”) It was the type of performance that leads a listener to wonder what they might be capable of in a different venueone known a bit more for its acoustics and less for simply breaking new bands.

The affect Choir of Young Believers had on the audience was notable. While attendance was sparse, it was clear that the band chose to see the room, not as half-empty, but half-full. “This is our first time in Los Angeles,” Makrigianni announced meekly, “It’s very nice to see all of you. It would be even nicer if you all came a bit closer.” Obediently, the audience tiptoed forward. Their responsiveness continued throughout the nightmany going so far as to dance (or whatever the knee-bending hipster equivalent is) during the one Choir of Young Believers up-tempo song, “Action/Reaction.”

After a blink-and-you’d-miss-it disappearance from the stage, Makrigianni reappeared, feedback still echoing from set closer “Claustrophobia.” Alone, he played one last song, a cover from fellow Scandinavian band, First Floor Power’s, “Love Will Come Knocking.” Without so much as an extraneous twitch, using just voice and guitar, he managed to hold an entire club rapt. Here’s hoping the rest of the musical world is also paying attention.

Set list:

1. Why Must it Always Be This Way

2. These Rituals of Mine

3. New Song (rumored to be part of an up-coming album)

4. Next Summer

5. Wintertime Love

6. Hollow Talk

7. Action/Reaction

8. She Walks

9. Claustrophobia


10. Love Will Come Knocking (First Floor Power cover)



Submit your comment

Name Required

Email Required, will not be published


Remember my personal information
Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

October 26th 2009

I wish this had been posted earlier. They had a show where I live tonight, and I could have gone ... oh well.