bebe black

Live: Bebe Black, Lock Tavern, 13/2/11

Sunday nights, it has been said (by us, mainly), are not amazing nights to catch gigs. Especially ones in tightly-packed venues with a shitload of people huddled in every nook and cranny,and where the DJ is playing extraordinarily loud (albeit very well-executed and pretty awesome) mash ups of Rihanna’s Live Your Life with Vampire Weekend’s A-Punk. And when we’re cold. And it’s raining outside. We first encounter difficulties, once again, upon attempting to gain entry to the upper floor of Camden’s Lock Tavern where we find a large music industry contigent – identifiable by their seasoned looks, knee-length black cashmere coats and pinky-pinstripe shirts (top two buttons undone, of course) – blocking the door into the venue, as they’re all huddled around tonight’s big hope Bebe Black – identifiable by her emo looks of aloofment – in undeniable anticipation of tonight’s debut show from the new kid on the scene.

And she certainly does not make us regret making it down tonight at all. Playing as a four-piece in front of a large white sheet-turned-projector screen, Bebe kicks off proceedings sans instrument with bouncy lounge-lizard anthem Railway Station, which results in every pair of eyes in the room being solely fixed on her. Frustratingly, although understandable for a venue of this size which doesn’t actually have a fully functional sound desk, it was clear from the outset that some improvisation was needed in order for the performance to accomodate the showcase that this event had ultimately become. But, heck, Bebe and her two-men-and-a-lady pull things off in superb fashion. We are treated to a proverbial tear-jerker and previously unheard Johnny Boy, a build-up number which sees Bebe settle behind the keys and enables the audience to witness first hand what this young lady is truly capable of. But the real highlight of this evening is set-closer I’ll Wait; markedly different in live performance than on record, this rendition leaves faces transfixed on the stage and jaws glued to the floor long after the show is over.

Words: Achal Dhillon

Picture: Nicola van der Woodvine (

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