Scarlette Fever is the stage name of Karen Louise Barrow. Born and raised in Hertfordshire Barrow has carved out quite a career in the music industry. Currently signed to Starfisch Records this talented singer/ songwriter has supported the likes of Simon Webbe, Girls Aloud, Mike + The Mechanics, Roachford and even Caro Emerald.
I was looking forward to The Borderline show because a) I love the venue and b) I was relishing hearing some new material after the single Sunday Best literally blew me away. The support came from Rubylux and Clare Grogan’s Altered Images. Now some people who I knew who attended this were only there to see Altered Images. What they did was pretty clever as they swapped Scarlette Fever and Altered Images round. So the 2nd act on the bill was really the headlining act. In all honesty when I knew the timings I was debating whether to leave after Scarlette but in the end I decided that I would stay till the very end.
Just by glancing at the set list I could see that it consisted of 11 songs (6 old, 4 new and 1 cover. As much as I wanted to hear the brand new material live I was quite excited to hear the old from the debut LP Medication Time as I love that album. It was just before 8.50 when things started to get going. Karen then made her way onto the stage picked up her acoustic guitar and got stuck into the first new song of the evening and this being Piece Me Back Together. The use of a violin bow and a guitar before Barrow came onto the stage added to the atmosphere. First thoughts were positive. This was a gentle paced tune which gathered more power towards the end. I was left completely captivated as this is a song that can leave you mesmerised.
It was then onto the 2nd newie of the evening and this being P.S. I Hate You. Now this was simply extraordinary the vocals were strong and this track was perfectly delivered. P.S. I Hate You had Rock/ Pop elements and had been written perfectly. From the lyrics I am guessing the song is about a relationship which isn’t healthy but the girl still harbours feelings which she doesn’t want to be there “Let the rain come down and wash you from inside of me”. In the end she finally accepts by declaring P.S I Hate You. “So this next one is a really special song to me” Barrow then said to the audience. The band got together and Chris tried to write a song while Karen and Angie sat complaining and smoking. They then ended up with a Chinese and a bottle of wine. Karen was then keen to point out the bottle of wine was off day. This being the latest Scarlette Fever song and this being Sunday Best. Other that being stunning this was an emotive ballad. I previously said this deals with death as one of the lyrics is “As you lay me down to rest, Put on you’re Sunday Best”. In a way that assumption was right but it was about a death of a relationship. I was impressed with this and it was spectacularly. Scarlette’s vocals were extremely powerful and I for one am anticipating the sophomore album. Following straight after was a spate of songs from début album Medication Time. First up was Black And White. Now I must say I adore this as it is a Power Pop tune which was aided by infectious lyrics. “Thank you so so much for all of you for coming” Karen mentioned to the audience. Some of which were there to see Altered Images or Clare Grogan’s Altered Images. “If you guys are clever enough to listen to Radio 2 you may recognise it” and this being Crash & Burn. This track is probably my favourite from Medication Time. This was extremely contagious and my favourite part had to be the fantastic powerful chorus “‘Cause we’re running through the red lights/ Through the dark into the daylight/ Let’s risk it all tonight/ So what if we crash and burn?”.
Next it was onto something rather fierce. “This next one I’ve decided it’s Chris’s song. I’ll let you figure out why” Barrow said before getting stuck into Single White Female. This had been recently released on the EP of the same name. Single White Female has the potential to be an anthem. The verses were sublime but it was the upbeat chorus which was my stand out part of this excellent song. Taking to a stool for the next tune of the evening was the whimsical Elated. This sombre ballad was a song about growing up and it was both gentle and soothing. The melody gelled to the lyrics to create something truly entrancing. Infused to the ending of Elated was a take on Jolene which was originally sung by Dolly Parton. I must say there own twist on this classic song added rock elements which gave it that extra oomph. You know what it worked and once over there was a rapturous applause. The penultimate tune of the evening was Hour Of Sunshine which features on Medication Time as well as the Great Expectations EP. This song was extremely upbeat and oozed plenty of country vibes. “Guys thanks so so much for having us” Karen then said before the band capped off a wondrous set with another new one and this being 6 Ft Woman. When hearing this performed right in front of me left me speechless. 6 Ft Woman was very pop which was aided by a luscious melody and smooth lyrics. I for one look forward to hearing the studio version.
Piece Me Back Together
P.S. I Hate You
Black And White
Crash & Burn
Single White Female
Hour Of Sunshine
6 Ft Woman
OVERALL: Scarlette Fever will always have my full support. They are an exceptional band with some cracking songs. Just switching slots with Altered Images was a clever move because it made sure that people were going to witness the set even if they hadn’t planned on seeing it.
Everything about this evening was positive. Karen’s vocal delivery was extraordinary and the 4 new songs were sublime. They each made me anticipate the sophomore album Attack Of The 6 Ft Woman which will be released next year.
So if you get the chance to see Scarlette Fever because you won’t be disappointed.