by Little Miss B, 22nd Feb 2010. All photography by Rachel Ferriman for The Girls Are...
Bertie Blackman @ Koko, 18th Feb 2010.
Bertie Blackman is a fantastically interesting artist. Having started writing songs at the tender age of 14, she is currently promoting her third album at a very young 25 years old. Her first foray into the music mainstream was folk-inspired debut 'Headway', followed by rock-influenced second album 'Black'. Back with the brilliant electro-pop delight that is 'Secrets & Lies', Bertie has produced a foot-tapping, dance-floor-filling eclectic mix of melancholic, ethereal and joyful sounds; this album is set to be a summer hit. We decided to brave the creche that is Koko on a Friday night to see Bertie Blackman in action.
Every couple of months I find myself privy to a performance of utter brilliance, sheer force and astounding precision. This was one of those performances. Sad, then, for it to be marred by a moronic section of the largely underage audience intent on ruining everyone else's night. The aforementioned morons took form in five barely pubescent boys located a few feet from the stage. Not satisfied with infuriating their neighbours by starting a mosh pit (at an electro-pop gig) and thwacking a fair few teeny girls round the head, they then decided to launch 50p pieces at poor Bertie onstage. With good grace she quipped that she would now be able to "afford a bus home" (sorry love, not round these parts), but from that point on it was evident that this phenomenally talented artist wanted to get through the set, and just leave (who could blame her?)
Yes boys, you are SO big. You are SO clever. Everyone was SO impressed.
What can not be faulted however, was Bertie's performance itself. Fierce, enigmatic, faultless, energetic and at times quite touching, she poured heart and soul into every song. Current single 'Black Cats' caused cheers and whoops from an over-excited crowd, and personal favourite 'Thump' was the highlight of the show. Seamlessly fusing tongue in cheek lyrics, electro-clash pop sensibilities and classically solid songwriting, she commanded the stage. Her inimitable voice rang through the entire venue (no small feat in the cavernous Koko), whilst moving furiously across the stage. It is an absolute joy to see such power radiate from a lady of such diminutive stature. Bertie only played a 30 minute set, which with hindsight suited the crowd and venue, but we left feeling sligtly short-changed.
Bertie Blackman is playing Barfly on 27th Feb. I suggest you go.
To buy the album, click here.