Charlene Soraia graphic

Charlene Soraia at Oran Mor, Friday 13th April
(Support from Claire Latimer, Dan Shears)
Review by Joseph Nelson

Charlene’s first support act Claire Latimer begins with (at least I think she began with, I was a tad late), a slow chillout version of ‘Teenage Dirtbag’, instantly setting up for that song I’ll mention in a bit which you will all have heard. After this, A medley of Ed Sheeran songs is sung, and I actually quite enjoyed it. I hate Ed Sheeran’s music, so this is an acheivement, and it could have just been Claire’s voice that made me enjoy it rather than the lyrics.

Next up is Dan Shears. He has that stereotypical ‘cheeky chappy’ persona that living in London ingrains in you, and makes filthy ‘your mum’ jokes (they were funny because they were subtle), but these first impressions are instantly shattered the moment he begins singing. ‘London by Lamplight”s guitar instantly reminded me of ‘The Importance of Being Idle’ by Oasis, but then Shears’ vocals came in and an eerie silence seemed to fall on the audience, giving the impression that noone was even breathing. We were all stunned by these goosebumps inducing noises coming from his mouth, that seemed to last forever. He finished with “Lily”, which had pepperings of an ‘Into the West’ tone, and seemed to reference the Everly Brothers with its style.

Charlene then strolls on stage, and the self-confessed trippy opening song begins with a bizarre noise emanating from her throat, it sounded like a seagull. Despite this, she shows unbelievable skill, managing to sing, play guitar, and occasionally pluck a mandolin in between. Then her band come in with bass and drums. Charlene then begins an astronomy lecture on the Moons of Jupiter, to lead us into ‘Io’, in which she shows her full range, transitioning effortlessly between deep sultry tones to nigh-ultrasonic pitches. ‘Rowing’ further shows her voice off, with a style comparable to Shakira or The Cranberries. Then she gives us some advice – “Don’t worry about love, just find whiskey; Whiskey won’t fuck someone else.”. She finishes with the song I said Latimer alluded to – her cover of The Calling’s “Wherever You Will Go”. Her breathy vocals, screaming with desperation of lost love, compliment the almost orchestral melody of her altered guitar. All the acts were extremely good, proving you don’t need a computer to have a hit. It’s lovely to just see a guitar and a voice sometimes, but don’t just judge Soraia as “That girl from the tea bag advert”; she’s far more diverse than you’d at first assume.

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