Firstly I will start by saying how much I adore Charlene Soraia and secondly I am ecstatic that she is back performing. I last saw Soraia back in 2012 at the Serpentine Gallery where she performed a short acoustic set which was simply fantastic. After the set was over we had a chat about the album and leaving a trail of wool leading to the nearest tube station. I never would of thought in the slightest that in 2014 I would still be waiting for that album. When I saw that Charlene was going to play at The Islington I immediately booked. Songkick had it listed as Lapland who were the headliner. Now I hadn’t heard of this group before and Songkick is not always reliable because anyone can edit information by adding artists to gigs etc. Well it was 100% true. Just being able to catch up with Charlene was amazing and if you do ever have the chance to meet her she is so lovely. Charlene mentioned that she was suffering with nerves given the fact it had been a while since the last performance. Even the nerves showed on stage there was no need for them as she pulled quite a sizeable audience (maybe it was down to the fact Soraia was hoping she wasn’t going to make any mistakes).
“Hi. How you doing?. I’m Charlene Soraia. I haven’t played in about 6 months. I’m really excited. I would say I’m really nervous but no just changing that word to excited. So I’m really excited but I hope you’ve got your tomatoes ready” Soraia then wittingly said to the audience. Charlene’s sense of humour makes me smile a lot. The set opened up with Ghost and this is taken from sophomore record Love Is The Law. This was a whimsical ballad which brings a tear to your eye as the lyrics were so clear. Ghost had been perfectly written and it is an emotional tale of the aftermath of a break down in a relationship “But you don’t feel my pain/ You don’t see my sorrow/ And the thing that hurts the most/ Is I’m just a ghost”. With the fact it was just Soraia and her guitar made Ghost rather soothing. “I feel really strange it’s really odd. I should just not play 6 months at a time. I feel like all this adrenaline going through my fingers” Charlene then said before another new cut from the album and this being The Space Between Us. Like Ghost Charlene co wrote this with her ex partner and this was about how distant they were becoming at the time. The performance was rather mellowing with an uptempo chorus. Now I really liked this tune, the vocal delivery was spectacular and Charlene hit the high notes at ease.“I think I need a hair cut. I also haven’t had my hair cut for 6 months. I’ve just taken it out and realised yeah it’s probably getting a bit to long. That’s what I’ve been doing for 6 months I’ve been watching Eastenders which hasn’t been very good (let’s face it) and growing my hair” Soraia mentioned before performing something entirely new. The song in question being Halo and no it wasn’t her very own interpretation of the Beyonce song. Even though she mentioned it could of gone wrong as no one has ever heard it before. Well you wouldn’t of realised if it did unless Charlene forgot the words or messed up playing it on the guitar. But neither happened and Halo showcased Soraia’s marvellous vocals which sent shivers up my spine. Halo literally knocked me for six and that is quite something because it takes something really special for a song to captivate me when I haven’t heard it before. “I’ve got a new album coming out but I’ve been saying that for a very long time. I feel like I have been pregnant with this album for far too long” Charlene then mentioned to the audience. It seemed as this was a light humoured rant as the new album is all ready to go. The title track Love Is The Law marked the half way point of the set. I must say Love Is The Law was very light, the performance was soothing and mesmerising at the same time. From the opening 4 tunes the new album is shaping up to be something rather magical. “I’m going to play an older one” Charlene said before getting stuck into Bike. Now this was not actually about bikes (well the word bike was referenced once). I found this tune very smooth which was superbly sung and Soraia’s warbling vocals were really strong. Bike was sweetly delivered to perfection. This song tells the story of a faltering relationship, which then leads to a years break which resulted in realising how much you actually love that person.
“I actually got a gold disc for this song and it’s still in a box in my toilet and no one’s spotted it yet” Charlene Soraia said before launching into a song which opened up many different avenues and this being a cover of Wherever You Will Go which was originally released by The Calling. Due to the fact it was heavily featured on the Twinings TV adverts the song charted at #3 in the Official UK Singles Chart. Now Charlene’s very own take on this was to make this into a beautiful ballad. The performance was spectacular just hearing a stripped back Soraia leaves me spellbound. This had the stamp of originality and Soraia turned this rock song into something rather folky. After talk of asking for an extra arm for Christmas (as Soraia could not carry her Baritone Guitar as well) then led into some discussion about Rolf Harris and the fact that her child hood had been ruined. A fan then shouted out a request which Charlene fulfilled. “This is Daffodils just for this man at the back. Hope you like it. I knew I should of rehearsed this one” Soraia jokingly said before Daffodils. Now this was a wonderful number which was actually about Hampton Court. The performance was rather cheery compared to what had appeared in the set earlier. “This is Likely To Kill. I already said I’m Charlene Soraia but I am just in case if you were wondering. I’m English, Italian, Indian which is a really weird mix. Enough about me lets play a song” and this being yet another number which was being aired for the first time. The song in question was Likely To Kill and this was about being likely to kill things. I have to say just hearing this live was quite something. Likely To Kill was played on the acoustic and was delivered at a steady pace. Again it was about a break down of a relationship “I love you/ But I can’t fight you anymore”.
The Space Between Us
Love Is The Law
Wherever You Will Go
Likely To Kill
OVERALL: This was one stunning support slot. Charlene Soraia may of been nervous but she put in a blinding performance showcasing 5 songs off of the long awaited sophomore LP Love Is The Law. I love the first record Moonchild but from what I have heard Love Is The Law will be a complete cracker.
The set which was played was absolutely flawless Soraia’s vocal range still sends shivers up my spine. Plus you also had her own witty banter which instantly makes you smile. Charlene mentioned that the fact she was talking fast was down to nerves (with it being so long since she last played you couldn’t blame her for feeling like this) but what really gave it away was the clicking robot like noises she also makes.
I will always big up Charlene Soraia as she is one true talent who is also someone from the BRIT School Alumni. I for one cannot wait until the day when she next embarks on a tour. I reckon when the time comes it would be to support the release of Love Is The Law. When that tour is announced I forsee the venues being exactly the same as the cancelled Autumn 2013 tour. Thinking about it the Jazz Cafe would be one sweet venue to play at.