Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Karima Francis : The Deaf Institute 25/03/09


Hi, after neglecting this baby for a while, I'm going to be posting a few things on here, me thinks. Starting with a review of Karima Francis, back in March of this year....

Karima Francis - The Deaf Institute,“Keeping it real”. Isn't that what music's all about? Opening your heart and soul to the world and showing them who you 'Really' are? As a newly emerging singer Karima Francis, steps on stage to hushed silence, capturing the hearts and ears of the audience in the opening bars of tonight's first song “The Author”, the title track of her d├ębut album, she reveals herself with an openness with is unflinching and brave. Her highly anticipated appearance at this triumphant homecoming gig turns the room from a noisy bar-room to attentive audience instantaneously. The tension and drama of this opening number is only briefly ruined by a Dom Joly-inspired idiot in the centre of the capacity 300-strong crowd who get a call and decides to take it, to the ire of onlookers.

As the delicate sensitivity of 'The Author' is followed by current single 'Again', with its' strong chorus, her 4-piece male accompanying band begin to rock, albeit gently, and the clear commercial potential of Francis' proposition becomes evident. Fitting somewhere in the lineage of Britain's recent slew of young female vocalists, this is emotive, soulful pop music, without the drug-addled self-harm of Amy Winehouse , or the pouting tabloid-friendly blondeness of Duffy. It may be hearing it's last performance on a small scale, but her star is clearly in the ascendant, as she delivers music of the kind that could easily soundtrack Romcoms or fill stadiums.
Looking round at the varied mix of Manchester's beautiful people, with her family assembled on the balcony, one can feel the sense of occasion tonight. It is the week of the album and single launch for 21 year old Blackpool-born Francis, and there is an urgency and heartfelt passion in her voice that won't be denied. If her fragile, androgynous Bob Dylan-esque figure and her voice intimates otherwordliness and star quality, it's completely at odds with her down to earth persona. In between songs, she chats to the audience like a friend amongst friends (many of tonights audience undoubtedly are), talking openly about how her life is changing as fame ensues, with a mixture of what feels like trepidation and excitement. Sharing news of her support slot with the Stereophonics on the Teenage Cancer Trust bill at the Royal Albert Hall, she also tell us of a forthcoming slot on Later....with Jools Holland.”I'm on the same show as Carole King....Shit the bed!”

Halfway into the evening, she introduces an acoustic cover of Kings of Leon's 'Use Somebody', she questions herself for choosing a non-original song. “Guess this means I'm fake doesn't it?” she says, smiling self-effacingly. Her life and the company she keeps may be changing, but she has nothing to worry about there : Francis may be pop, but she's the real deal.

Setlist:

The Author

Again
Use Somebody (cover)
Morse Code
Francis
Chasing the Morning Light
Hold You Again
Laurel Avenue
Remember your Name (encore)

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