Preview: Raphael Callaghan at the Islington

Raphael Callaghan plays the Islington, London: Tuesday 10th April

Tomorrow, Raphael Callaghan heads to London for his first gig there for many years. Here’s everything you need to know if you’re making the trip down to see him or are considering going along…

Who is Raphael Callaghan?
Raphael has an enviable track record in the blues and gospel scene, having performed alongside some of the best both live and on record. He first appeared as a session musician in the 1960s and has been recording and touring in various guises ever since. Born and originally based in Liverpool, Raphael has recently moved to Wales and gigs often in the North.

Recently Raphael has been touring more widely after last year’s launch and success of his first full ‘solo’ album, Said and Done, which gained critical acclaim plus airplay on BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio Merseyside and numerous online stations.

This London gig sees Callaghan looking to bring his clever lyrics, earnest delivery and cool playing to a new audience in the capital.

The gig:
The gig is expected to take in a number of favourite tracks from Said and Done. Raphael will be taking to the stage on his own, backing his vocals, sometimes acapella, with harmonica, and slide and picked acoustic guitar on some tracks.

The show will also include a tribute to blues legend Skip James perhaps featuring some of his numbers reimagined in Callaghan’s gospel/blues style, a handful of brand new songs, and a collection of older numbers too. The gig will include plenty of music, taking the form of two sets from Callaghan with no support.

Tickets:
Tickets are available online for £8 plus an 80p booking fee from WeGotTickets here. They will also be available on the door. Doors open at 6pm with the show starting promptly at 7:30pm.

The show is 18+.

Address:
The Islington (Formally North One)
1 Tolpuddle Street
N1 0XT

The venue:
The Islington is a pub, home to a venue of 130 capacity with the watering hole holding 180 patrons in total. In recent years the venue has hosted some well known artists including Nathaniel Rateliff, Beth Rowley, Israel Nash, Declan O’Rourke and former Sonic Youth Thurston Moore. It has also hosted a number of high-profile book launches and readings from the likes of music journalists Paul Morley and David Hepworth, Beatles Biographer Hunter Davies, Paul Gambaccini, and Danny Baker last December.

Tonight, Raphael’s stage will be kept warm for him by musical theatre legend Sir Tim Rice, in conversation on the venue’s famous scuffed leather sofa.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that Raphael is NOT playing at the nearby, similarly-named Islington Town House on Liverpool Road, so don’t turn up there expecting to see him – the venue is by the level crossing, pictures at the top!

The weather:
Forecasters are predicting that average temperatures in London will be in the mid-teens tomorrow with some cloud cover. There is a small chance of a light rain shower in the afternoon just before the gig, clearing as the evening progresses and leaving cloudy skies with lows only reaching around 10 degrees Celsius towards the late evening.

Transport:
The venue is a five minute walk from Angel underground station which is on the Northern Line. Head right when exiting from the front of the station, and take the first left onto the aptly named Liverpool Road. Then, take the second left onto Tolpuddle Street, the venue is almost halfway down on the right, just before the zebra crossing.

Those getting the train from the North-West will most likely get to Euston. It is no more than a half-hour walk to the venue, or the tube can be caught from Euston along the Northern Line to Angel, taking around five minutes.

The Islington is approximately a twenty minute walk from Kings Cross and St Pancras rail terminals, or if the walk doesn’t appeal, Kings Cross St Pancras underground is the next station along from Angel on the Northern Line.

Those getting the coach or train into Victoria are advised to take the Circle Line from Victoria underground station around to Moorgate and then switch to the Northern Line for a couple of stops to Angel, or take the Victoria Line to Euston and switch to the Northern Line, with a total journey time of approximately half an hour.

There are no planned engineering works or major events that should affect train or tube travel arrangements.

Apparently, Angel has the longest escalators on the entire underground network.

Although Tolpuddle Street is just outside the Congestion Charge zone, being a central London venue, parking is scarce and it is advisable to use public transport where possible.

What to do beforehand:
Those arriving early into the capital have a wide range of activities to occupy themselves. Music buffs should make time to check out the nearby O2 Academy Islington.

For fans of American ales, the Lexington pub (also home to a fêted music venue) is a must-visit before the show, and only a five minute walk from the Islington. Drinkers should also check out what is on offer behind the bar at the Islington itself.

The dance theatre Sadler’s Wells is 10 minutes’ walk, although there are no scheduled events, while the Union Chapel church and gig venue and the British Library are within walking distance (around 20 mins) for sightseers with some time to explore.

Those craving green space can find it right next to the venue on Tolpuddle Street in the small Culpeper Park, which is popular with families. The larger, more open Barnard Park is one of several not too far away if peace and quiet is desired. Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill, with its beautiful view across London, is around two miles away.

There are a good selection of food and shopping outlets in the area. There is a Pret a Manger opposite the entrance to Angel station. Islington High Street is home to a shopping centre plus a number of independent and chain restaurants including Nandos, Five Guys, Starbucks, Pizza Express and Caffe Nero.

Across the road from the venue is a large Sainsbury’s store, with numerous pubs and chain outlets nearby such as McDonald’s, Boots and Waitrose.

Can’t make it?
There are several other chances to see Raphael across the country this year. He will visit Southport, Sheffield and Cleethorpes among other locations before the month is over. For full details of all future gigs check Raphael’s website.

Want more?
For more information, visit Raphael’s website here or his event listing on the Islington’s website here. Read my interview with Raphael about the show here.

Raphael Poster

In his own words:
“I would guess that a huge percentage of the audience at the Islington won’t have seen me before. Even some friends I know who’ll be there haven’t seen me for years, so pretty much everything I do and say will be ‘new.’ I’ll be doing two fairly long sets so it will give me a chance to cover all aspects of my repertoire. That’ll be necessary to try and keep everyone’s attention!

“Basically, there’ll be some acapella blues and gospel, and plenty with guitar, certainly some with slide, and some with just voice and harmonica. Mostly my own songs, with just a few of my favourite blues or gospel ‘covers’ done in my own way. And when I use the word ‘blues’, it’s my own personal brand of blues; as a line in one of my songs says, “they may not be the kind you recognise, for they’re nobody’s blues but mine.” Of course, they come loaded in varying degrees with references to what you might call ‘authentic’ blues (I hope), but I’m just a boy from Liverpool so I think that has to be taken into consideration!”

Published by

Tony Allen

20-year-old student from Norwich.

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