Charlotte Church - Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton
Welsh warbler Charlotte Church has turned a few people’s heads in the last year with her three self released EP’s, delivering a completely new direction for the one time child star. The singer has left mainstream pop tracks like ‘Crazy Chick’ and ‘Call My Name’ behind, traversing a darker and more alternative route that highlights her vocal skills to great effect.
Charlotte has accumulated a decent collection of songs in this more experimental vein and showcased tracks from her EPs, alongside unreleased material and a crowd pleasing cover, in the shape of Ultra Nate's 90s Top Five smash 'Free', on the first night of her UK tour at Wolverhampton’s Slade Rooms.
The audience seemed to be predominately made up of curious observers, including a few OAP’s but all seemed eager enough to sample the “new” songs on offer. I’d say there were only a couple of tracks with instant hooks so there was a bit of restlessness in the house by mid-set but the crowd were still behind the singer, bellowing cries of encouragement throughout her performance and pleading for an encore after she left the stage.
This was the fifth time I’d seen Charlotte play this year but only the first time I’d encountered a full set, having only viewed showcases and festival performances previously and it was a rewarding experience taking in a longer gig.
I'm only just getting to grips with EP3 but was impressed by the live renditions of 'I Can Dream' and 'Like A Fool', with the beautiful 'Swallow' just pipping the pair, as it was a real stand out but the songs from the singer's first two EPs that really made the evening for me.
A gorgeous 'Glitterbombed' sparkled during Charlotte's encore, however the Fix award for song of the night goes jointly to 'Nerve' (a song about being really pissed off with your partner) and 'The Rise'. 'Nerve' was just a pounding delight. The live rendition strangely reminded me of Led Zeppelin, possibly due to the drumming as it gave the song a hard rock edge, with Charlotte's robust vocals towards the end of the song just blowing me away. The singers powerful pipes were also on full display during 'The Rise', with the Slade Rooms' interpretation benefiting from a harder industrial backing compared to the recorded version.
Some naysayers may doubt Charlotte's commitment to this new material as she's dabbled in a few different genres over the years but you can see during a live performance just how passionate she is about her current musical direction. EP 4 can't come soon enough as far as I'm concerned anyway.