Frances at Shepherd’s Bush Empire
“It’s so great to be playing the Bush,” Frances declares, alluding to the venue, the Shepherd’s Bush Empire. It is true, she is moving on to greater things. Touring her debut LP, Things I’ve Never Said, she is more polished and more at ease with herself than she was this time last year. Trading jokes with the audience, she happily launches into the first few lines of Don’t Worry About Me, entirely A cappella.
But she is still disarmingly candid, just now perhaps a little more sassy and willing to invoke the support of the sizeable following that she has accumulated. Cloud 9 showcases jazzy triads that remind one of Norah Jones or even Joni Mitchell, and as the full band gives its backing and harmonies, Frances’s songs transform and their constituent parts come together.
New single Drifting is reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac and the Berkshire-born performer almost sounds like Stevie Nicks when she achingly sings “another fall for the taking, another heart for the breaking”, whilst Borrowed Time takes 80s synths and mixes them with clubland rhythms. Clearly Frances has been busy; she now has some pop stompers to go with the ballads that are, by and large, still her winning numbers. Say It Again is, in particular, a future classic.
Her encore, requested by her followers before she has even finished the main set, includes fan favourite Grow, which could be a metaphor for her as an artist. Though the question remains: is there enough room for another vocalist specialising in torch songs and borrowed rhythms? This singer, though, is carving out her own niche, and right now looks mercurial and new. This is good news for her increasing band of adoring fans.
Photo: Guifre de Peray
For further information about Frances and future events visit here.
Read our interview with Frances here.
Watch the video for Don’t Worry About Me here: