Kicking off the summer season at Bold Tendencies in Peckham car park is regular ‘houseband’ The Multi-Story Orchestra, joined by a kid’s choir made up of several local schools for a performance of I Am I Say.
It’s the hottest day of the year; the multi-storey is packed with doting parents as well as the odd outdoor concerto aficionado. The level of enthusiasm and excitement from families seeing their little songbirds on stage, and them in turn spotting their mummies and daddies in the audience by waving profusely, is infectious. However, once the music starts, it’s clear that this isn’t your usual humdrum school recital, nor your saccharin children screeching affair (I’m thinking of Grandma We Love You here).
The children’s voices are used effectively as an instrument to highlight the almost sinister sound as well as dark lyrics. ‘I don’t want smoke in my eyes, I don’t want gas in my lungs,’ words of this particular verse penned by the pupils themselves, and probably the best of the three I might add!
The seemingly short song on paper is dragged out into a 20-or-so-minute epic, giving time for crescendo type instrumentals as well as the participation of a soprano and a baritone who join halfway through.
The eerie quality of the surroundings certainly adds to the experience considering we are in an industrial setting hearing about the plight of our environment. Acoustics equally dramatise this, as well as the rattling sounds of the nearby railway track, which almost acts as another voice, giving the piece an all-round film soundtrack like quality.
The end of the performance was, quite aptly, signalled by the impromptu cry of a baby in the audience, which acted as a reminder that we are essentially at a school performance, but with a difference. What followed was quite an emotional, rapturous and genuine applause given by the proud families.
There is certainly more to the previously disused car park than the ever-heaving and increasingly hipster-filled Frank’s café on the roof. And with a programme full of music, visual art, theatre and literature, this great space is likely to keep you occupied throughout the summer.
Multi-Story summer 2015 in Peckham car park runs until September 13, 2015.
Bold Tendencies & Multi-story
95A Rye Lane