When a gig is sold out, you expect to be packed into a room so tightly that you leave wondering whether it’s your own sweat that has drenched your shirt or the fat bloke’s that you were stuck behind all night. So, tonight is a nice change when the Night And Day Café approves of personal space and doesn’t pack as many people in as possible. You don’t even have to fight your way to the bar whilst waiting for the acts to take to the stage. Headlining tonight is Charlene Soraia, demonstrating that she is a lot more than that girl who did that cover of The Calling. You know, it’s on the Twinings advert.
Wandering through the crowd then onto the stage is the first and only support act of the evening, Dan Shears (**), showing off his folk stylings and very impressive vocal ability, sounding comparable to Muse‘s own Matt Bellamy at times on songs such as ‘The Devil’s Favourite Love Story’. Unfortunately for Shears, he lacks the stage presence to keep the crowd’s focus and with a similar rhythm and vocal approach to each song, the crowd soon start to talk amongst themselves. Whilst this to some degree is expected for a support act, when coupled with Shears‘ voice which is designed more for control than power, he gets drowned out a little at times. New track ‘In The Shadows Of Better Men’ is faster paced and gets the crowd involved, but this quickly changes with the set closing love ballad ‘Lily’.
Calmly walking on to the stage, Charlene Soraia (*****) sits in front of a sold out venue with her guitar and plays an array of songs that truly demonstrate her talent. She also manages to keep the crowd interested with humour throughout her set, with stories of opening track ‘Lemonade’ being about attractive older men (her inspiration was Alan Rickman) and yelling “Hi!” when someone’s phone rings during ‘Wishing You Well’. Halfway through the proceedings gets the biggest reaction from the crowd when Soraia plays ‘Wherever You Will Go’ and delivers it perfectly.
Soraia throughout the night shows she’s much more than just that one song, providing a top-notch vocal performance on ‘Postcards From IO’ (which is a moon of Jupiter, apparently). She also shows off her self-taught guitaring on a baritone guitar on the darker track ‘Animal’, and then on a mandolin for ‘Midsummer Moon In June’. Summing up tonight perfectly is final song of the night ‘Does She Fake Her Cum Face?’ which demonstrates Soraia‘s ability to sing and play brilliantly, but keep things light-hearted despite a slow-paced relaxed vibe.
It just goes to show that you don’t need to be running all over the stage to give an outstanding performance, and that Charlene Soraia should be known for a hell of a lot more than one cover song.
Written by Jonathon Barlow