Julien Baker at the Forge
Hailing from the Home of the Blues all the way in Memphis, Tennessee, 20-year-old Julien Baker took over the Camden Forge on her first UK tour. The acclaimed young talent has stepped away from her band, the Forrister, to discover her own sound, and was in London to showcase her solo debut album, Sprained Ankle.
Humbly taking to the stage with no grand entrance, Julien Baker appeared timid and overwhelmed, but as soon as she began to play the opening guitar arpeggios of titular track Sprained Ankle the busy bar turned quiet. Her delicate yet passionate voice resonated with every body in the room, sending chills down the backs of her attentive listeners. Baker’s every word burst with the utmost intensity and emotion, resembling Birdy’s angelic, eloquent diction. Standing there all in black, shifting from ballad Blacktop to hit tune Everybody Does, her insecurity gradually crumbled away as she belted the powerful chorus.
The singer repeatedly expressed her gratitude and excitement at being in London, while cracking the audience up with her awkward, subtle humour between each moving track. As Baker moved on to Rejoice, the room’s adoration for the young artist instantly grew as her high notes and husky-yet-tender voice filled the dimly lit space. Much to the crowd’s delight, she performed two new tracks that she hopes to record very soon, including a crowd favourite, Happy to Be Here, leaving listeners eager to hear future work.
Her perfect melange of heart-wrenching yet cathartic music pulled on the audience’s frail heartstrings. The up-and-coming star finished her set off in her sombre, tranquil way with Brittle Boned and Something, turning the room into an idyllic utopia – a contrast to her rainbow guitar strap and mustard-yellow electric guitar. From swaying beer drinkers to vinyl clutching fans, Baker dazzled the Forge with her impeccable talent and flawless voice. She is sure to follow the path of other ambient artists, such as Daughter and Birdy, as she takes over the world, one soul-stirring song at a time.
Photos: Erol Birsen
For further information about Julien Baker and future events visit here.
Watch the video Sprained Ankle for here: