Live: Whiskies & Croons. Patrick Watson, St Stephen's Church.

Whilst a gig in a church may no longer be the revelatory experience it once provided, certainly to frequent one outside of Union Chapel and its clunky stone trunks, as it just so transpires, still feels rather novel and to a lesser extent like some minor betrayal. St Stephen's Church is a rather more slight and slender construction; its rustic beams and subdued hues an ideal fit for the sepia melancholia for which Montreal bumbler Patrick Watson has long since been revered. He bursts past an ever-evolving queue for the disabled facilities, chirruping: "I'm gonna pee my pants" and whether it be a direct consequence of our unorthodox boozing in this sacred setting or anxiousness at selling out said space, anticipation is tangible and every pew is as crammed as it may well have been on that fabled ark.
Bizarre Medieval evensong precedes the proverbial pissing of pants although once he emerges to minimal fanfare if maximum rapture, any frayed nerves are neatly seamed like monochrome school shorts tidied lovingly by the callus-ridden fingers of a doting mother. Watson later alludes to the paternal role he's relatively recently assumed although flutters of Sufjan-esque string, ghostly cascades of piano tinkered and emitted from LED claws and jubilant explosions of Morricone horn (coincidentally bassist Mishka Stein tonight rather resembles Lee Van Cleef in Leone's Per qualche dollaro in piĆ¹) intimate the youthful pleasures and exuberances Watson so patently derives from his work as crushing waves of piano gently rock and roll beautifully on Lighthouse, lapping up against a grandiose desolation. Watson is like an infant with a newfound toy, his simple yet inspiring joy suggesting he's almost startled by his own ability – he frequently guffaws at points of climax or minor musical error – and indeed it's a compositional one that's lamentably been largely overlooked by many. However it's his voice warmer than well-stocked and dedicatedly stoked, forest-eradicating log fire; more wild and rustic than a thousand hectares of wilderness that's his greatest talent as it here counteracts the soreness incurred by being sat upon uncompromisingly uncomfortable pew for protracted period.

Quiet Crowd, dedicated to "the quiet people; the only ones you ever wanna hear", is mutedly excellent in this oblong arena and boasts perhaps Watson's finest crescendo to date whilst Step Out For A While has a dizzying effect that accurately encapsulates that woozy feeling post-fairground ride and pre-regurgitation of greased gristle originating from nearby van. A demented solo redolent of San Fran art pop collective The Residents adds yet more great disorientation to this giddy aesthetic as Watson flickers them fingers in agitation and uncontrollable excitement. With its boy/girl vocal tandem, Into Giants meanwhile comes across as the blithe, liberated flight of stomach-born butterflies escaping from agape gob as the seemingly limitless possibilities of a burgeoning romance dawn on the beholders, the Christmas lights overhead set to bleary strobe as oily celluloid projections wash through the periphery of vision.

However he's perhaps all too infatuated with aforesaid toy, that at least metaphorically representing latest full-length Adventures In Your Own Backyard which happened to be released this very morning. That he draws from it quite so extensively is therefore understandable, if not desirable: the surging orchestrations of Morning Sheets sound ever more uncannily akin to Stevens' Jacksonville whilst Noisy Sunday, inspired by one of his mother's poems propping open a mashed potato recipe, barely aliments attention. As he soothes: "It's quiet again/ Too much for noise to go on" a siren inevitably screams down Uxbridge Road, its luminous glare shocking through stained glass window and as it jolts out of distracted contemplation, it's his inimitable warble that once again proffers the impression that we're safe from the perils of west London.

Although it's when he indulges in older material that his genius is most blissfully illumined as these sparse moments offer glimpses of divine inspiration; of what could may well have been: from the insistent, red-blooded nudge of the Buckley-ish Luscious Life to the crazed call and response evoked by a frenetic Bird Bird in a Small Cage, if we may be demonstrably passionate about this particular flat-capped troubadour then we've rare opportunity to exhibit such sense of fervent feeling. Disappointment is reconstructed into something considerably superior with a tingly rendition of his Cinematic Orchestra collaboration To Build a Home during which Watson is accompanied solely by the creaking of his piano stool although you can't help but feel as though a little more consideration ought to have gone into his setlist architecture...