Owlle at Notting Hill Arts Club
Owlle (real name, appropriately, France Picoulet) is a 28-year-old musician from la République française who performs under the feminised word Owlle (pronounced Owl) because she believes she has a close spiritual connection with the sage animal. Apart from emerging at night, tonight’s performance of her debut album France wasn’t a good indicator of any owl-like wisdom or mystery.
From the moment she appeared 20 minutes late and lazily dressed, she was in for a tough evening of technical problems and coping with an unenthusiastic crowd of chatterboxes in a dark, dilapidated basement. “I have to come back here with my musicians. It will be much better,” she said, disappointed and apologetic at the end of a night where she was forced to perform completely solo on a cramped stage, surrounded by instruments she didn’t touch.
Despite all this, she attempted to make the most of her short, disadvantaged UK exposure before jetting off back to France and Germany to complete this month’s tour. She tried her best to perform tracks from France with emotion, effort and hand dramatics, beginning with Disorder, perhaps reflecting her mood. She continued her set with her oldest release, Ticky Ticky, and then performed singles Fog and Don`t Lose It, neither of which had the same powerful impact as they do on her record, and were consequently greeted with nonchalance from the audience.
Perhaps the crowd would have been better warmed up by a version of Depeche Mode’s Heaven or The Zombies’ She’s Not There – covers that propelled her indie blog fame and would have given the audience an instant sense of familiarity.
Owlle is still fresh though, with her album having been released only a few days prior to the event. On the LP, her voice shares an electronic pop similarity to Zola Jesus, but her minimal set-up tonight (a laptop and an analogue synthesiser) was more akin to the innovative Grimes.
She concluded her performance with the instantly likeable Creed, which at least got a few bodies moving. It has recently been promoted with a liberal music video and contains lyrics about self-expression and having confidence in your own belief systems. It was a shame that tonight`s technicalities prevented the chanteuse from having the same kind of freedom.
Matt Taylor Hobbs
Photos: Simon Crow
For further information about Owlle and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Creed here: