When Johnny Parry Chamber Orchestra got up on the stage of The Finsbury, they were crammed on a relatively small space. It was eight of them possessing keyboards, violins and double bass to name a few. As Johnny Parry said; it was only the stripped version of the Orchestra that usually counts 30 elements.
The band opened with 'Sweet Nothings' from their second album Song without a purpose; Parry's clear and warm voice led off, accompanied by the astounding voice of the soprano. From there they were slowly joined by all the instruments on hand, being introduced one at a time. When they retracted, the song ended up with a light touch on the keyboard.
'God loves me' hit the crowd like a punch, unlike the other songs that started slow and then built up, this one started at full voice. There was a nice contrast between Parry's deep voice, and the soprano warbling in the back.
Throughout the whole performance there was a strict link between the song played and the images being projected on the screen behind the band. When the orchestra played 'Rebuild It Piece By Piece', images taken from comic books worked as captions relevant to the song and, inside the balloons, it was possible to read the lyrics. Parry's mesmerizing voice was the main character of the performance, with the instruments building around him and originating a sense of grandeur.
Johnny Parry Chamber Orchestra closed with another tune from Song without a purpose; 'Love Song'. As the title suggested it was indeed a song about love but not in a traditional way. The grandeur of the music left place to lyrics that were an ode to life and love. Love for the countryside, for home, for personal ghosts, demons, love for God. In the end the song reached its zenith and I couldn't help feeling I was watching live - for the first time - the execution of a symphony.