Gig Review by Charlie Honnor with Photography by Jonathan Morgan

Charlotte Carpenter

The Sunflower Lounge in Birmingham is a great venue often showcasing artists that can go onto much bigger arenas of sound. Those ‘were you there’ moments that music word of mouth is famed for and mused over often. The essence of rock n’ roll if you will. Will it, do it, be there. It happens.

Alexandra Jayne

Alexandra Jayne fills a 40 minute support slot with guile, charm and moments of real musical connection as the venue still fills. Troubadour strolls along with the class and poetry that its title suggests. Jaunty and confident displaying a wide vocal range. The Water with ‘Thumper’ the foot driven self crafted solo drum effects move the set on. The thuds add depth but its the vocals and guitar that shine.

Alexandra Jayne

Danger Zone adds to that delicate yet swelling vocal accompanied by flickering finger picking and in an intimate venue it’s pretty powerful stuff indeed. It would be easy to chuck Stevie Nicks comparisons in vocally and Alexandra Jayne reflects music from the 70’s but with a modern day welcome twist. Likewise Hullaballoo isn’t afraid to get brash and conversely so quiet one can audibly hear a camera lens shut in moments of lush hush. The applause says more than the typed word. Clumsy Love ends the set yet there’s little clumsy here and the support slot is more than adequately filled setting up for the headline act very fittingly.

Charlotte Carpenter

Moody moog sounds of Break begin the headline set from Charlotte Carpenter and band. The three-piece, two guitars, drums and a mass of effects draw the nicely filled venue into respectful silence immediately. The questioning emotive track builds with brewing, swirling soundscapes before it dissolves into a deserved round of applause. Meantime, also from the new E.P. The Fault Line follows and with heads beginning to nod approval amongst the crowd – it’s quickly apparent the new songs are as good, if not better, than music from the four previous E.P.’s.

Charlotte Carpenter

Take It All is explained to be about a recurring dream of being swept away in a tornado. The key to this song is its simplicity. Catchy, hooky and switching it allows the drums to thud a beat of a brewing storm before delivering a straight up Rock punch of real quality. Steely sparse slither of guitars merge on If I Could. Again the song rises with rousing brewing Blues and clear fine vocals.

Charlotte Carpenter

Am I Alone (In This?) creeps along oozing confidence yet keeping the crowd second guessing. Charlotte Carpenter questions her own style via an anecdote from a coffee shop on Sometimes The Blues, a happy person with sad songs? The vagueness of the song is its charm, the best songs, regardless of genre, come from dark places – and they shine a light here.

Charlotte Carpenter

The sampled loop intro of Blood Ties sets a warm vibe. Harmonic and paced perfectly allowing the slow steely space of the backing guitar to nurse this soft track along. The sparse sound fills the venue and is a blissful tonic for a cold Tuesday evening. Next up is the unreleased Contract which too is well received.

Charlotte Carpenter

Wasted closes the set with vocals really delivering and proves the heaviest number of the evening. A riff bursts out not a million miles away from ACDC believe it or not although it is tamed back – and it’s that straining power that pulls the audience in leaving them all somewhat Thunderstruck…

Charlotte Carpenter

…except it’s not the final track. For the first time ever the band play an encore demanded by the won over crowd whooping for more. Whole ends the evening fully and the whole venue still want more. Charlotte Carpenter is clearly an artist to watch out for and all of her carefully crafted E.P’s are worth ones attention. The question begs when the debut album finally drops will she cherry pick the fine offerings already available or go with wholly new material? With omitted songs tonight like Woes either way, like the Milk Tray man, the (wo)man in black will almost certainly deliver…

Charlotte Carpenter

See the complete photoset here.

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