Chrysta Bell brings Lynch’s world to London
Chrysta Bell is no stranger to the stage. The last fourteen years have seen her collaborate and perform with a proliferation of acclaimed artists including Willie Nelson, Donovan and Brian Setzer. While these credentials have certainly earned her international recognition, it has been her partnership with the iconic surrealist film-maker David Lynch which has had the worldwide press hot off their seats for a closer look. After much anticipation, they finally got the chance to see her last night. Recognised as the breeding ground for the musical talents of Amy Winehouse, Adele and Kings of Leon, London’s Bush Hall received Chrysta Bell with open arms.
Expectations were high for Bell, and when her trademark hourglass silhouette stepped into the spotlight, it was heart-warming to see the London crowd welcome her to the stage with thunderous applause. It immediately became apparent why she chose the Bush Hall as the venue that would host her debut performance in Britain. In a skin tight gold evening dress and black stilettos, it seemed like the concert hall’s furnishings – which can only be described as unrestrained decadence – had been installed just for her.
Straight off the mark and it was clear to see that Bell’s performance was something special. Opening with Real Love from her new album Train, her breathy, saccharine vocals, combined with a seductive background guitar riff, suitably impressed the crowd. The influence of David Lynch was unmistakable. In addition to his capacity to write and record music with adept flair and conviction, it was evident that he had cast his spell over every aspect of Bell’s set, from her red arm-length gloves to the film noir background lighting effects. As if stepping straight off the set of Mulholland Drive, Bell played the part of a tragic aspiring Hollywood actress. The audience knew she was playing a character, and were more than happy to compliment her by playing the role of prurient voyeur.
After watching Bell’s down-tempo performance of This Train, comparisons with Portishead and Massive Attack could certainly be drawn. The dark and fiery guise of Lana Del Rey also came to mind. However, it became evident last night that Bell’s on-stage persona propels her to another level entirely. Perhaps it’s her maturity. After all, she’s spent over a decade working with Lynch to define this compelling sound.
Before playing Blood, she announced that this composition characterises the type of sound she will be working on in the future. Compared to earlier songs of the night, this was undoubtedly more accessible and radio friendly. By this stage, Bell had stepped out of all categories that critics were happy to place her in – entertainer, muse, model – and truly came into her own. Questions certainly beg, asking what her current incarnation would be without her partnership with Lynch. Time will undoubtedly tell. One thing is clear – this won’t be the last we hear of Miss Bell.
Watch the video for Real Love here: