Chantal Claret at Barfly
Hosted in the Barfly in Camden, and tucked away in the dimly-lit top room of the venue with her closest fans in attendance, Chantal Claret gave a performance as full-bodied and atmospherically intoxicating as her tipple of a namesake.
Playful and sassy, her stage presence was either genuinely kooky and at ease, or that of a extremely skilled entertainer. Probably both, but either way, she had the audience in the palm of her hand right from the beginning of her set with Secret War, where she sat on the floor in the middle of the crowd.
Audience involvement was a large part of the set, lending the already intimate room familiarity – Thee Headcoatees song Davy Crockett was given a worthy cover with half the lyrics roared out by the entire room, and the “filler chat” seeming improvised and breathless with adrenaline. She performed Jailbait and I Look Good to whistles and cheers, with several characteristically quirky stage props, including a furry-tailed hat and a polaroid camera, with which she took a portrait of the audience and several individual photographs after the set as she sat on the edge of the stage seeming no worse the wear from her energetic hour-long performance.
A healthy blend of old releases, new material and covers, her skills as a songwriter and lyricist are a little satirical and jam-packed with references to other artists – notably the Stones song Brown Sugar being referenced in Jailbait among others. Her assurance to the audience that the “new song that has never, ever been played before” was going to be word perfect was bolstered with a throwaway reference to quantum physics, which won her several slow nods from the beer holding blokes sticking to the back of the room away from the gaggle of lovestruck girls hugging the stage.
Intelligent, funny, undeniably sexy with the rarest of all qualities in many current musicians of her genre thrown in for good measure, Claret a beautiful voice that sounds, if possible, even better live than it does on her recorded albums. As she sang herself, with just the right balance of attitude and irony thrown in, “you want to get with me, … ’cause hey, I look good”. And sounds good, more’s the better.
Photos: Erol Birsen
For further information and future events visit Chantal Claret’s website here.
Watch the video for Bite Your Tongue here: