Retrospective: Concerts of 2009 – VV Brown Live at Bush Hall, March 25th 2009

Posted: March 25, 2012 in Concerts of 2009, Indie Pop, Pop, Popular Music, Soul
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Three years ago today, March 25th 2009, I got the chance to witness the singer and model VV Brown performing one her quirky set when she had just started to promote the Travelling like the Light album at the pocket size Bush Hall in Shepherd’s Bush,West London. Although she had been tipped to be one of the new sound of 2009, she was still a relative unknown.  We were even given a free promotional EP at the end.  Here is the review I did for Blues and Soul Magazine.

VV Brown at Bush Hall, March 27th 2009

Quirky and Original VV Brown performs at Bush Hall on March 25th 2009

VV Brown, Bush Hall, London, March 25th 2009

Vanessa Brown, the 24 year old English London based songstress is surely plotting her upward course. She has, evidently, come a long way since parting company with her former record company and returning toLondonfromLos Angeleswith little money two years ago and has been widely tipped by music industry insiders as a future great. But before all that – the hard work of getting there. And that involves playing at such unique stepping stones like the diminutive Bush Hall.

This is a venue that tends to sort the wheat from the chaff. And like many who have played previously, VV Brown  was not the first to fall victim to the whims of the sound system, which had been excessively tuned and tinkered with for a future Channel 4 recording.  The zealous pre-show sound-check did not prevent the mike from failing for the singer’s first number “Crying Blood” and even then when vocal mike did come back on line, the booming sound from the band on the deeply funky edgy bass and an equally piercing treble balance threatened to drown the singer altogether

VV Brown puts her heart and sould into the gig at Bush Hall, London, March 29th 2009

VV Brown puts her heart and sould into the gig at Bush Hall, London, March 25th 2009

on the aptly named next track “Game Over” as VV tried to animate the crowd.

Not a very auspicious start but then something happened. As if suddenly coming out of a muffled fog, her voice, conveying in equal measure sweetness and drama, came shining through, to the train-like beat of “Bottles”.  This dramatic sentiment was also pushed much further in “Back in Time” as the soulful drama ridden angst in her voice combined beautifully with the indie- rich minor chords on the keyboard that slid eloquently down the scale. There were also more upbeat up-tempo numbers paying homage to the bubblegum era of the 60’s such as the infuriatingly catchy “Quick Fix” , where all you wanted to do was to get down and Twist, as well as VV’s single Single of the Moment “Leave” .  What made VV’s 40 minutes set so endearing and original, though, was her style that encompassed so many genres and fusions of style. Nowhere was this demonstrated more so than with probably the most engaging version of The Smiths “This Charming Man” that I have ever heard. Though, this was  probably not the best gig she has done to date in terms of sound quality,  VV did all she could to engage with the small 200 person audience and nonetheless made this mid-week gig a very enjoyable one for a wizened old critic. I look forward to seeing her again in the future.


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