Even by the choir leader’s own admission, Hideaway jazz club in Streatham took a huge gamble when they booked the venue for IDMC’s headline show. Yes, the choir is well known in gospel circles but Hideaway had never heard of them and neither had a lot of the venue’s regulars. There was a lot riding on the evening to be a success.
It was to their delight (or maybe relief) then, that Saturday night’s live show featuring the choir was a huge triumph. Well over 200 people came, which given the configuration of the room, was a sell-out. Looking around, there was hardly a seat to be had anywhere.
Hideaway is different to many of the other venues we’ve been to recently for live shows. Whereas many places go for standing options only, this had a warmer, classier feel. Tables were positioned throughout, allowing punters to enjoy the music while eating and receiving table service. But IDMC were certainly more than background music for diners to listen to. If no one else, choir director John Fisher made sure of that.
At the helm of the choir since its inauguration over two decades ago, John was a charismatic host. He encouraged participation and interacted with the audience in a way that made the evening flow freely. The energy was reflected across the stage to the other choir members and musicians and through to the audience.
IDMC showed their versatility throughout the night. The majority of singers got the time to shine at some point and sang the lead parts for songs. There was a tribute to the island of Jamaica, which recently celebrated its 55th anniversary of independence. And a soul section saw UK gospel legend Junior Robinson take to the stage for a cover of Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together. The vocals here were fantastic.
Our highlight though, was the IDMC take on the classic Hezekiah Walker hit Power Belongs To God. It got many people on their feet, even those who were reluctant earlier in the night.
All told, this was a great showing for IDMC who went out on a limb to make the night happen. The audience was more than appreciative. And if this event is anything to go by, Hideaway will snap the hands off of gospel acts of similar stature who want to grace the stage in future.