St Johns Church, Farncombe
As part of a 30th anniversary tour the Christians treated an appreciative audience to an evening of the best of the band’s back catalogue of perfect soul-tinged pop.
Garry Christian, the sole representative from the band’s original line-up, cuts a fine figure on stage with charisma, presence and one of the smoothest soul voices which at times is reminiscent of Bobby Womack. He engaged the audience with relaxed banter, including bringing a newspaper on stage to ask for help with the crossword, with occasional extended gaps between songs.
Christian’s velvet vocals were superbly complimented by band members Joey Ankrah on lead guitar, Neil Griffiths, acoustic rhythm guitar and Mike Triggs, keyboards. This was an acoustic set, the group plays with additional bass and drums at larger venues.
Saying “this is the first time we’ve ever played in a church” Christian seemed unnerved to begin with but soon warmed to his task, his powerful voice filling the venue with Ankrah and Triggs adding trademark Christians’ harmonies perfectly.
Tracks included Born Again, Perfect Moment with its gospel overtones, Hooverville, Greenbank Drive, Sad Songs, What’s in a Word and the standout Forgotten Town, Ideal World and Words.
The current incarnation of the group crowd-funded a 2015 album We from which they played Big Red Sky, an emotional tribute song to the families of the Hillsborough disaster, with poignant lyrics “we will never lose our pride, we will be standing side by side.”
The band’s biggest hit was a cover of the Isley Brother’s Harvest for the World with the Christians’ version eclipsing the original in this reviewer’s opinion. They closed the show with this, bringing the audience to its feet. A minor glitch was the band forgetting to break before the encore, leaving the audience wanting more. More Christians please.