Gabrielle Aplin at The Forum
If you ever wondered if it was possible to “make it” via the mediums of YouTube or other social media, just ask Gabrielle Aplin, who played to a 2,500-strong crowd at The Forum in Kentish Town last night. Having gained a substantial following through her covers online, last night she was showcasing material both new and old, displaying maturity beyond her 23 years, and delivering a powerful and captivating performance.
The success of a solo guitarist on a big stage hangs in the balance, and when Aplin arrived precisely at 9.15pm, it seemed that was all we were going to get. But after the delightfully haunting Coming Home, a band joined her, and the big stage didn’t seem so terrifying anymore. Hurt and Heavy Heart proved the singer isn’t just your average busker on the underground. Her connection with the band was borderline psychic, producing snappy and jazzy rhythm sections, all of which were stunningly reinforced by the vocal range of Aplin herself. It really was a joy to behold, and in a room that’s played host to Adele and Florence, Aplin could more than hold her own.
After the excellent Shallow Love, the band departed, and it was just the audience and Gabrielle again. How Do You Feel Today was delicate and touching, but ultimately the space was just too big for one woman and her guitar. A somewhat predictable Bowie cover was thrown in for good measure before the musicians came back to join us. There’s no doubting her talent, but Aplin hasn’t reached the songwriting level required to play purely as a solo act, and she clearly appreciates the support that her band gives her. Slip Away shows just how good they can be together, and it was by far the highlight of the evening.
It all ended with Home, which builds and builds into a deeply moving finish. Gabrielle looked as though she was still blown away by her fame, smiling at every face in the crowd as if they were long lost friends. She had better get used to it though, because with songwriting ability like this, she’s destined to be around for a while.
Photo: Jan Henckens
For further information about Gabrielle Aplin and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Sweet Nothing here: