Franka de Mille - Monto Water Rats, London 9th October 2012
The stage was set. Intimately small. Plush, red velvet curtains and an all in black dressed Franka. All very Lynchy.
The Victorian wooden floors told of events that had seen the likes of Dylan through to Perry. What a venue to treat our star in the making…
Anyone turning up and expecting a reproduction of the album, ‘Bridge the Roads’ would not have been disappointed. Oh. Just one thing… There’s nothing like the real thing.
The filming crew took to the pit in an unobtrusive way, but that didn’t stop the audience pitching forward after a few songs. Just to get closer and closer to this little siren.
Despite half the band having chest infections they all gave a performance to die for.
Farewell It Will Be was the opening number followed by Oh My, which had a vague hint of Piaf.
Franka’s gritty honesty rips at the heart of pretension and breaks down the barriers between the audience and herself. Folky, jazzy songs all sung with a moody magic.
The band members are utterly devoted to her – just as we, the audience appreciated every note.
What a thrill she gave us. Heart wrenching family melancholia, drama, love, mystery, melody… and ooooh that violinist Antonia Pagulatos plays with devastating passion. The cellist Thomas Wraith is superb. The keyboardist gets you gushing. The guitarist? Spot on. In other words the ensemble played to perfection!
Revealing herself through her songs. Engaging the audience with tales of grit. Sharing her love for her late father with moving lyrics as in Birds, her mother in opening song Farewell It Will Be or of her friend in the upbeat Come On.
The set couldn’t have been better. Moving us with a sad n slow number only to shake that emotion up later with a little glimpse of shyness in her love song Fallen.
An angel could have come down to absolve us from our sins and we, the audience, wouldn’t have noticed. Not when Franka was singing.
She treated us to a few new numbers that were equally entertaining and only served to endear the audience more. There was not one wagging tongue in the crowd.
The encore gave us a lively cover of Tom Petty’s ‘Won’t Back Down’.
Ms De Mille is as promising as she is enigmatic.
Disarming honesty combined with a powerful performance is what we got on a cold Tuesday night. Enough to warm the cockles of anyone’s heart.
If you get the opportunity to see her perform, Franka is worth the trek.