Cass McCombs brings European tour to Stoke Newington

Critically acclaimed Californian folk-rock singer Cass McCombs brought his European tour to Stoke Newington last night, in St Mary’s Old Church which needs over �2m for its renovation.

Local campaigners want to revitalise the Elizabethan church into an intimate arts venue for the local community, and Cass McComb’s team thought it would make the perfect venue.

The Californian-born musician, whose fifth album Wit’s End was released last month, was described by John Peel as ‘unobtrusively brilliant’. His 2009 Catacombs was named one of the top 50 albums of the year by internet review site Pitchfork Media, and the Stoke Newington event sold out within a day of the tickets going on sale.

The church renovation programme has already raised �250,000 over the last couple of years, which has been spent on heating and lights - but they still need another �2.5m.

John Field, the church’s voluntary arts manager said: “All things being equal, we really do need an arts venue in Stoke Newington as there isn’t one.

“One part is the oldest Tudor building in Hackney which is still in use, but part of the old church was obliterated in the war, and what was put up after the war is very second rate - it’s damp and is falling down.”