Review: Philippa Hanna @ Bush Hall, London

Philippa Hanna

If you follow similar people to us on social media, there’s a good chance you’ve been seeing a lot of Philippa Hanna on your timelines recently. The reason? Her #EdSheeranWorship video that saw her covering the track Prefect by the red-headed pop star.

Of course, the Christian version of the song that gave Philippa over a million views online made an appearance at her London gig last night. It went down well. Yes, it was always going to because it’s a song recognisable to everyone – even those who aren’t the Philippa Hanna diehards. But more than that, it showcased Philippa at her best – portraying a song with meaning, allowing the vocals to shine through.

Meaning

An earlier highlight was in a similar vein. There’s a reason we do interviews with artists on the Sound Doctrine. There’s a reason we ask for artist bios and press releases. There’s also a reason we go to shows like this one. As well as hearing the songs, we like to hear the stories behind them. In the case of one song in particular, we heard the story behind it and it made us hear it in a whole new light.

There’s a song on Philippa’s latest album called Million Flowers. We loved it the first time we heard it, so much so that we included it in our #halflight Spotify playlist. At the gig Philippa told us she wrote the song following a message she received from a couple who tragically lost their son. She wrote the track and dedication to him. All of a sudden, on hearing the full explanation of the song’s significance, an already powerful song became all the more poignant.

One reason we fell in love with the song in the first place is because the stripped-back acoustic nature of the song has a certain pureness to it. It replicates really well on stage. We’ve long been campaigning for a Philippa Hanna acoustic album. Who knows? Maybe if we bug her enough…

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Jill Marie Cooper performed her chart-topping song My God My Saviour

Band

But it wasn’t just simple instrumentation throughout the night. Philippa had a full band of a drummer (who also doubles as her husband), keyboardist and guitarist. In fact, there were so many instruments on stage that the guitarist at times looked like he couldn’t decide which one of his guitars to play for each song. But the sweet solo he pulled off during Off the Wagon was great. We have a soft spot for that song, it’s one of our favourites.

We also have to mention when Philippa went into the archives to pull out Raggedy Doll. The night was chiefly about the album Come Back Fighting but at times such as this, she revisited a few of the hits from her earlier projects. If Raggedy Doll doesn’t put a smile on your face, you literally have a heart made out of granite. Just saying.

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With his wife in tow, Toby Benson took to the stage before the headliner

The Voice

As always, Philippa was note perfect all night. The only misfire came from a malfunctioning megaphone she tried to use during Do the Unthinkable but she didn’t let it phase her too much. She is a real talent and such an encouraging person to have in front of you on stage.

Philippa was preceded by another big voice – that belonging on Jill Marie Cooper, who opened up the evening. Her most memorable moment was the performance of her track with Kensington Temple My God My Saviour, which landed a #1 spot on the A Step FWD UK Christian Chart. In between the two women was folk singer/songwriter Toby Benson who also provided support on the night.

We’d seen Philippa Hanna live many times and covered her a lot on the Sound Doctrine but we hadn’t seen her at a headline show before. It’s an itch we’ve finally been able to scratch and it was worth it. Top night.

Philippa Hanna’s Come Back Fighting Tour continues. For more information on dates and where to buy tickets, visit www.philippahanna.com 

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