The attic bar at the Glasgow Garage, if you haven’t been, is almost a perfect small venue, cramped stage, low ceiling, band and crowd practically on top of each other.
Be Charlotte, the reason we are here tonight, took to the stage at 9:15pm, with all the swagger and attitude of an act who know they can deliver.
Before I get to the headliners, some words for the support acts, both of whom deserve another viewing.
Amy Groden, its fair to say, can be described as melancholic. Backed by a single electric guitar and occasional piano, her soft tones were at times lost under the volume of the guitar, particularly on the song ‘Little White House’ which otherwise would’ve been a standout track. She did grow in confidence over the course of her nine songs.
Ali Robertson, plus backing band was an altogether livelier affair. Half a dozen songs encapsulating electro pop with a vibe that ranges from soulful to jazz via a bit of Peter Frampton style effects and a smattering of Dire straits guitar. This guy probably deserves to be seen in front of an audience of his own.
As Be Charlotte get ready to take the stage, a Lightbox with the bands logo is unveiled and the place immediately feels more alive. As they ease into their 10-track set with the breathless, hypnotic ‘P-Step’, it’s an intriguing start. From that point on, the band is fully in control of proceedings. With David Calder’s booming drum sound and James Smith providing keyboards and rousing basslines, they are the foundations that allow vocalist Charlotte to weave real magic.
Looping keyboards and vocals combine with an unrelenting beat to great effect on debut single ‘discover’. ‘Think It’ and second single ‘Machines That Breathe’ are real crowd-pleasers and songs that could grace any venue, from small clubs to the festival main stage and everywhere in between. There is a great piece of audience interaction as ‘People’ combines African drumbeats, handclaps (audience) and Charlotte’s really fast rapping lead into a soft, soulful chorus that’s really quite brilliant.
Soon to be next single ‘Too Late’ is another the get’s the crowd going. It’s all funky basslines and soaring chorus with a punchy, defiant rap to round it off. This one deserves to be a hit.
The powerful solo vocal of ‘Bullets’ shows off Charlotte’s vocal talents perfectly and was appreciated just as much as the big sounds the run through the rest of the set. A set which culminates with current single ‘One Drop’ which sees the crowd used as, ahem, backing singers. 40 minutes of impressive, powerful pop music from a band with a real stage presence and a damn good vibe… to borrow a phrase.
Photos: Michael at Michael Bryant – Scottish Photographer