I have recently been really taken with The Blue Dahlia. Her eclectic mix of influences spans continents old and new whilst remaining strangely coherent and evocative. The music also manages to sound familiar whilst completely defying description – no mean feat in today’s world.
Knowing that her upcoming European tour included a number of London dates, I couldn’t pass up the chance to see her in action. So I made it a date, and one cool August evening I grabbed my Oyster and my summer jacket and made my way to The Good Ship in Kilburn.
The Good Ship is a relatively small but pretty cool venue. The dim interior and distressed furniture should look dingy, but somehow give the place a mellow and rustic charm which lends itself well to intimate sets. I also really like the layout. The stage is a sunken area overhung with stairs which create a sort of spectators’ gallery – all the better to take in all the action from above in minute detail.
The Tuesday crowd was pretty thin, at least to begin with, and didn’t seem particularly interested in the musical goings on. The two acts preceding The Blue Dahlia – Damien Black and Pete Piskov respectively – weren’t particularly crowd-pleasing or adept at engaging the audience, and at times the sound of beer and chit-chat seemed to drown them out.
The energy changed completely when The Blue Dahlia took the stage. Ukulele in hand and dressed from top to bottom in – you guessed it – bright blue, she confidently belted out her lyrics in French and English, sometimes at lightning-fast speed. The crowd, which had thickened and congregated around the stage, ate it up. Alistair Lion on drums and Daniele Borgato on bass were rock-solid, whilst Joe Francis on saxophone and George Saenz on accordion and trumpet added layers upon layers of nuance and dimension. The Good Ship was soon swaying to the beat, and The Blue Dahlia’s set was over in an instant.
It was a great night. The Blue Dahlia delivered the goods and turned an ordinary Tuesday evening into a night to remember. Next time round, make it a point and go check her out.