Ane Brun @ Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London
Billy Vibes is having a bad day. Can the mysterious avant-pop crooner Ane Brun turn it around though?
I arrive at the que - which runs through the tipping rain - having just had my nerves shattered by a bomb hoax at Clapham Junction. It's fair to say that Ane Brun has had a rather unfair start in provoking so much as a twitch of a smile from these lips.
That she eventually manages it however, is testament to this breathtaking artist. Her transformation from studio to live performer sees her propel every note, vulnerability, insecurity, and emotion to a whole other level.
There is also a sense of theatre in the performance. The jazz-tinged ‘One’ has an air of narrative eloquence but at the same time would not be out of place in a classic Disney film - quite a broad spectrum to cover in three minutes!
This is all driven by the musical variation between a four-piece backing band (two of whom are percussionists, and neither are found to be overbearing or a wasted stage prop). The balance is consistently spot on, and the audience is in on the act too: ‘No I won’t believe!’ cries Brun at one point. ‘Go on…believe!,’ the crowd retort. ‘Wow - you're much louder than the Irish!’ she smiles. (I wasn't in Ireland but I'm sure she's damn right).
Other set highlights include ‘Do you Remember’ - which lifts bums off seats - and final encore ‘Undertow’. After reviewing the record I thought Ane Brun risked being a static performer to an equally static crowd and most of her success would be generated through her talent as a recording artist. Her enthusiasm, energy and down to earth aura have proved my assumptions wrong - and the light show wasn’t too bad either!