London Islington Union Chapel

Never mind the band, just check the quality of that masonry...

Twilight through stained glass, shadowy corners, hymns ancient and modern. The grand aesthetics of the Union Chapel are the perfect backdrop for [a]Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci[/a], as the spotlights cut over their heads and into the black depths of the roof. Never mind the band, just check the quality of that masonry.

As the quietly extravagant Mynci 2000 tour rolls into London, it’s hard not to conclude that Euros Childs and his ever-expanding magical band have found their, well, [I]spiritual [/I]home. A nice bit of medieval revivalism here and there, pews to rest those weary pilgrim limbs, sweet and in-jokey programmes for everyone in lieu of prayer books. And, of course, a band who’ve long since found the true path of righteousness since their early stereotyping as pubescent wizard’s apprentices.

It’s been the best part of a decade since Gorky‘s began, time enough to often take their enduring excellence for granted. A fatal mistake, given the gentle epics their live gigs have become. Tonight they number seven, including producer Gorwel Owen on keyboards and fx and the sainted Norman Blake on guitar and backing vocals, easing himself back into the spotlight before Teenage Fanclub‘s much-anticipated return around 2005. There are two sets, too. The first, broadly acoustic affair, taking in a swathe of quaintly lovely new songs, B-sides, arcane gems like ‘Gewn Ni Gorffen’ and even Robert Wyatt‘s ‘O Caroline’, emphasises how Gorky‘s these days are much more comfortable with a low-key, lustrous music that largely steers clear of the jerks and quirks of their younger days.

It’s old, wise stuff, really, easily damned as ‘mature’ by those of one-dimensional mood. But there’s a richness, a harmonious warmth at the heart of Gorky‘s that gets stronger by the year. An intuition – in ‘Desolation Blues’, or the psychedelic honky-tonk of Gene Clark‘s ‘Out On The Side’, or the final, rousing ‘Let’s Get Together (In Our Minds)’, which recalls The Band, no less. The young people, they grow up so quickly these days; sometimes, though, it becomes them.