Half way through their short tour of Scotland, Be Charlotte enthral a packed Attic with a set of stunningly artistic and irresistibly catchy anthems.
As we’re waiting for Be Charlotte to take to the stage, I’m told by a fellow photographer that I should prepare myself for something special and when the band – made up of frontwoman and songwriter Charlotte Brimner (programming, guitar, keys, vocals), James Smith (keyboard, bass) and David Calder (drums) – take to the stage with a throbbing electro pulse, it’s clear that he’s not wrong.
Single ‘Discover’ begins slowly before the beat kicks in and it’s impossible not to dance and to start singing the words, even if you don’t really know them – it’s simply the best kind of infectious. Brimner sparkles on stage and it has nothing to do with her pink tinsel jacket – she just has a captivating stage presence mixed with a wonderfully expressive, and impressive, vocal range
‘Machines That Breathe’ builds slowly with layers being added until a stunning soundscape backs the chorus, which embeds itself in your brain. ‘Drawing Windows’ – a song written about someone undergoing a mental health examination and available as the b-side to ‘Machines That Breathe’ – sees her vocals floating above crashing drums and a gorgeous piano melody. She finishes the track standing at the front of the stage, singing acapella, allowing the stand-out instruments – her voice and her lyrics – to hit the audience with their full power. It’s refreshing and thrilling to watch.
We’re then invited to be part of the band, as we clap along while Brimner and Smith drum together at the front of the stage. There’s no holding back in the crowd. Everyone is united with Brimner as she shifts between spoken and soaring – at points almost yodelling – vocals. There is a tribal sound to ‘People’ and we are part of her tribe now – we are Be Charlotte people.
‘Too Late’, the next single, brings a summery guitar melody to back her ascending vocals and direct rapping. ‘Feeling’ is slower, but no less uplifting, while ‘Think It’ grooves along with a throbbing bass. Every track in this set sounds like an anthem in the making.
For the final song of the night, Brimner splits the room in half for more audience participation, although there are some men in the crowd that are rightly intimidated by having to keep up with her vocals and switch sides. When ‘One Drop’ kicks in, this is all forgotten as all those around me enthusiastically join in any way they can – there are some that know the words and sing along while everyone else is just compelled to dance. As it reaches a pounding crescendo and the set comes to an end the crowd continue to sing and cry out for more after Brimner leaves the stage.
She may just be being herself but, in Be Charlotte, Brimner has obviously found the perfect outlet for her outstanding songwriting and artistic talents. Glasgow has, indeed, just witnessed something truly special.
Photos © Rhiannon Law