Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Concert: Charlotte Church

Charlotte Church has certainly grown up.

Most remember Charlotte as Welsh a teenage opera star that either vanished or faded into obscurity.  Some may have just heard her name a few times.  However, for those of us that know better this is very much not the case. For a good two months I have been babbling about this concert and a ridiculous amount of people either vaguely remember Charlotte or have forgotten her completely. A few wondered what happened to her and why she disappeared.

However, she didn't disappear. She has been trickling out music since she was 13. She hasn't stopped. However, after the Prelude album Charlotte took new direction with music (as I would expect a teenager to do in the age of pop stars). It was clear in her later opera CDs that she was moving away from opera by incorporating more show tunes and pieces that she had more room to make her own. You cannot reinvent the Flower Duet, but you can take A Bit of Earth and make it your own.  She went pop and released an album called Tissues and Issues. On that album is one of my favorite Church songs called Crazy Chick. This album was never (until very recently) released in the US.

She then went on to host The Charlotte Church Show which was a variety show and the bits I have seen I love. Church is hilarious, a bit of a potty mouth, and she doesn’t hold back her opinions.  Quite the contrary to how I had imagined her. She left the show, got married and had two babies. She ultimately got divorced.  After her divorce she released another pop type album called Back to Scratch. This album is still not available in the US. You can only get it through UK CD websites and be prepared to pay top dollar.


Now Charlotte is back and better than ever! She has a brand new sound that is a departure from lackluster pop and more rock opera/new age. Her new music makes full use of those beautiful opera pipes of hers and it also allows her to sing in her pop voice from time to time. My favorite of her new music is Glitterbombed, but I also enjoyed How to Not Be Surprised When You’re a Ghost.

Her show started a good 45 minutes late due to the previous show ending late. Charlotte came our looking like a cross between a Wiccan and Stevie Nicks. She had bare feet for the entire show, some wildly unkempt hair (not my favorite), rainbow eye shadow, black leggings, and a blinged out black kimono. She definitely looked the part of a mini rock star. She also gargled with bourbon (I believe), ate honey right off a spoon and washed it down with water. Honey, that's my girl.

I excepted her to be funny and she was much more reserved but told the crowd she wasn't used to performing for a seated crowd. She suggested table dancing at one point.  In fact, she barely spoke to the audience at all.  This is s big change from The Charlotte Church Show.

What makes Charlotte so amazing is that she truly sounds like she is right off the recording. It's incredible.  I do believe there is something for everyone at Church’s shows.  You can enjoy the jams or be in awe of her crystal voice.

Her new sound is incredible. I hope she sticks with this new rock sound because I feel she may have found her niche that is finally global or at least sellable in the US. I can see a lot of friends of mine enjoying her new music if they can get past who she once was musically. Charlotte Church is no longer just an opera singer.

I feel like I witnessed an artist being born.  This is her evolution.  It’s pretty amazing to watch.

I do miss her arias but I bet she had to be sick of signing Ave Maria over and over. You can play with opera.

My one complaint was that I happened to be sitting (in amazing seats) to the left of the stage and Charlotte seemed to bend to the right often.  So a big part of the show I heard her but watched her back.  I am not sure if she just leans that way or if she was cueing the guitarist and drummer.  Regardless definitely get a seat to the right if you happen to catch one of her shows.

The venue, Joe’s Pub, was exactly what I expected but completely different at the same time.  Clearly I had never been there.  They have two “halls” for performance, and then upstairs is a restaurant/bar and a very large lounge area.  The hall Church performed in was a decent size and we were packed in, but in a good way.  The hall had small tables and comfortable booth like benches along the back wall.  So while we were packed in a bit the d├ęcor made the environment cozy and not over crowded.  The hall is also small enough that there was not a bad seat in the house.  I was almost envious of the bar stool seats I passed up in lieu of the closer seat that I had, but that was my choice.

I was very surprised that they allowed filming and photography (no flashes).  Although, this was never stated anywhere, I did not see a single flash go off and quite a few people took photos.  There is usually that one person that doesn’t understand flashes blind the performers.  Or maybe it’s just the crowd Church attracts in NY.

It really was a wonderful show.  I do wish it had lasted longer and that she would have performed Crazy Chick.  Sure Crazy Chick isn’t the sound she is working with now, but it’s not too far of a shot from it.  One of her newer songs is about a schizophrenic and Crazy Chick speaks for itself.

If Charlotte Church rolls into your town, do try to attend.  The lady hasn’t performed in the US in 10 years!

Charlotte performing my favorite Glitterbombed at Joe's Pub. I did not film this.  I did, however, treat myself to a Charlotte Church T-shirt which (like a teenager) I couldn't wait to wear the following day.