Words and Pictures: Sophie Hextall / MindHex Media
After making it as far as the quarter finals of the 2019’s Britain’s Got Talent [BGT] live shows, rising teen rockers Chapter 13, Tom, Jake, Jacob and Noah played their first UK tour not long afterwards and we were lucky enough to be able to cover it and watch the band capitalise on the hype surrounding the show. Our review of the London date from that tour is below:
Fast forward 6 months and the band returned for a one-off show at the much bigger ‘Dingwalls’ venue in Camden Town. The test for the young band would be to see if the fans had remained true, would the crowd come back or, like many of their peers on shows like BGT, would the typically fickle audience have moved on to the next ‘fad’ on another talent show?
By the time we reached the venue, the queue to gain entrance snaked down the side of the building , round the corner and out into the food market area that Camden is so well known for. The signs were good. A buzz of chatter emanated from the assembled people, mostly teenage girls, all of whom had their ‘favourite’, and, with the age restrictions requiring under 16s to be accompanied by adults, a smattering of parents most of whom would spend the evening at the back of the room to give their children and friends the opportunity to push forward to the front to catch a glimpse of the four musicians and hopefully catch a wink, a smile or a brush of the hand.
Before the concert began, the masses had begun the fandom equivalent of a Mexican wave which boiled down to impromptu singalongs to some of Chapter 13’s best known singles. It was surprising but welcome that ‘Northern Lights’ and ‘Forgotten Castaway’, fan favourites for those that have followed the band subsequent to BGT, were the ones chosen by the Chapter 13 Choir.
Before long, as the clock ticked closer to 8pm, the side doors opened, the lights dimmed and the introductory tape of ‘Teenagers’ by My Chemical Romance began to play. As the screams got louder, prompting the parents at the back to compare the scene to Beatlemania, Jake, Jacob and Noah took to the stage and began to play. ‘Don’t Trust Myself’, one of the new songs on offer at the show then kicked off proceedings as Tom ran on to the stage to sing minus his guitar, something that would repeat a few times throughout the set. Clearly looking for an edge, a new angle, something to keep people guessing, seeing Tom step up into a pure front-man role, with no guitar as a comfort blanket was great to see and he pulled if off with ease, bouncing around on stage whilst the others played beside him.
If there’s one thing Chapter 13 cannot be accused of it’s lack of energy. With Tom seemingly wearing spring infused sneakers and Jake and Jacob constantly switching sides, leaning onto the monitors and Noah’s arms a flailing whirlwind of drumsticks, ‘Falling In Love’, ‘I Don’t Like Me Too’ both followed in swift succession. Lyrically both songs connected instantly with an audience all of a similar age and everyone finding the material completely relatable. At the back of the room, in the special area designed for those who’d made the journey but couldn’t take the heat down at the front [or The Bar as they call it], the songs triggered memories of when they or their other halves had chased after Take That for all the same reasons.
With ‘Looks Like You’re Having Fun’ perhaps the most apt song of the night, three quarters of the band then departed the stage leaving Tom alone with a sea of screaming fans. Separated by the smallest of barriers, Tom sang ‘Wish You Were Dead’. A truly touching song, again speaking to the masses and making them realise they’re not the only ones that have those moments of despair when they do indeed wish they were dead when everything seems to be falling apart around them. Tears were shed, the crowd went wild, Tom smiled and waved, the humblest of gestures, and then the band returned to relight the fire in the several hundred strong crowd.
‘Northern Lights’, the fan favourite being sung before the band came onstage hit the spot perfectly and the crowd surged forward leaning heavily on the barrier reaching out for the briefest of opportunities to touch a hand or a leg as the three lads worked tirelessly at the front of the stage.
The biggest thing to note from the show is the lack of cover songs. Everything on offer was an original track, nothing covered which could have extended the set but wouldn’t really add anything to the band’s repertoire. It’s a brave act that will stick with solely originals especially when many of the multi-million selling artists out there are known for one or two covers in their set. All power and respect to Chapter 13 though. To be able to have the confidence to perform their own music and nothing else to a packed room of (admittedly fully committed) fans, is worthy of note and deserves a retrospective round of applause from us as well. Great work guys.
With them returning to the stage for an encore of ‘Forgotten Castaway’, a quick check first to make sure the crowd wanted another song [you can imagine the answer!] and then they departed, four very happy, energised and enthusiastic young men who deserve to become so much bigger. Let’s hope we can follow their career on what is destined to be an upward journey!