Phildel at Bush Hall
Phildel, a London singer-songwriter of Chinese and Irish extraction, played the ornate yet cosy Bush Hall in West London to promote her recently released album The Disappearance of the Girl. She’ll soon be entertaining in less intimate (though undoubtedly less attractive) venues. That is, until she gets booked at the Royal Albert Hall. And on the evidence of tonight’s performance, I wouldn’t bet against that happening.
She has recently been of great interest to the media, in particular her religious upbringing with a fundamentalist stepfather who prevented her from listening to music until the age of 17 when she ran away from home. This lost youth informs the name of the new work, the title track of which is the second played tonight and the one whose beauty silences the chattering audience. Over the past six years, the licensing of her music for worldwide TV advertising campaigns has also been much commented upon by the press, especially the piano piece The Kiss, which was a curious omission this evening.
On stage she has an endearing gawkiness and shyness, which lessens when she moves to the grand piano on the floor of the hall and disappears utterly when her vocals kick in. Her voice has shades of Joanna Newsom and the undulations of Tori Amos, but is also quite uniquely and brilliantly her own. It’s shown off to greatest effect in Beside You, Switchblade and Mistakes, but the accomplished band behind her also deserve great credit, in particular her keyboardist and violinist.
The set is short at 55 minutes long, with the audience clamouring for much more after the encore of Holes in Your Coffin. You know it’s been a decent gig when the foremost complaint is the brevity of the performance. Her career thus far has been a slow burner and though it may continue only gradually, it is clear to all present tonight that the trajectory is onwards and upwards.
Photos: Marika Parizzi
For further information and future events visit Phildel’s website here.
Watch the video for The Disappearance of the Girl here: