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Review by George Arkley.
My first experience of Frances was a couple of years ago – with her track ‘Grow’ in a Spotify playlist – which immediately caught my attention. From that point on I began to notice her music popping up in a couple of my favourite TV Shows, including The Vampire Diaries and Teen Wolf. Without realising it, I had been listening to Frances from early on in her career – but only after attending her gig does she have my full attention and support.
It was the smallest gig I’ve ever been to: barely filling the smaller upstairs room of Newcastle’s 02 Academy. Supporting Frances is the young, upcoming trio OUTLYA, with their pop, blues-inspired sound, similar to that of Bastille. Their charming confidence and energy on stage had multiple members of the audience dancing and even singing to their debut single ‘The Light.’ At the end of their set lead vocalist, Will Bloomfield, jumped off the stage, beckoning his band mates to follow, and they continued to perform with the crowd surrounding them. The intimacy of the gig didn’t seem to intimidate the trio: rather, they used it to their advantage by personally handing out their flyers and talking to members of the crowd in the interval. With their fresh pop sound and sick harmonies, I wouldn’t be surprised if OUTLYA were hitting the Top 40 in a few years time.
The chilled out vibe of the gig continued as Frances entered the stage, alone with her piano. Despite the majority of her tracks being slow and melancholic, she had the audience captured from the moment she opened her set with ‘Don’t Worry About Me.’ This set the relaxed tone for the rest of the gig: there was no pressure or expectation because it was very clear from the beginning that Frances was performing out of her love for music, not for the money or fame. She chatted and received a classic Geordie chant from the enthusiastic crowd who, myself included, were all sad to see her leave the stage at the end.
For some of the more upbeat tracks, her band joined her with the bass and drums: songs such as ‘Borrowed Time’ and ‘Sublime.’ As much as I enjoyed these, my favourites from the gig have to be ‘When It Comes To Us’, ‘Last Word’ and ‘Grow.’ With her down-to-earth, charismatic personality and effortless vocals, I would definitely recommend going to see Frances and if not, then listen to her debut album Things I’ve Never Said.