Review: Lauren Aquilina at The Bodega (Supported by Chløë Black)

With angelic vocals and powerful, driving melodies, Lauren Aquilina made The Bodega feel like Wembley Stadium.

5 STARS

There is a moment in every gig where the audience gives themselves over to the performer. Sometimes it’s awkwardly late, everyone waiting until the final song to really dance and let go, other times it’s instant, your inhibitions walking out as the artist walks on. Lauren Aquilina at The Bodega was the latter kind. The dad sat near me cried; the teen fans that adore Lauren screamed and sang along; a tall guy near the bar put his phone light on and waved it in the air like a lighter, raising his hands in the air like he was in church.

“Is it okay if I do a new one?” Lauren asked, a few songs in. Everyone cheered and she smiled in response. It was this sort of genuine dialogue, coupled with her otherworldly, flawless vocals, which made her onstage presence so charming. At the end, everyone queued to meet her and received a hug in exchange. There was no barrier between Lauren and her fans, and this meant that her tracks, all of which (apart from one) could be categorised as ‘sad songs’, had a particularly mesmerising effect upon audience.

Lauren Aquilina’s fame is very internet-based, a kind of success exclusive to the online worlds of Youtube, Spotify and Twitter. Her EPs, the first of which was released in 2012, contain songs both anthemic and, occasionally, sparse. With drums like that of The Script or Coldplay, all big and driving- proper stadium drums- and verses and bridges that build to gigantic, hands-in-the-air epiphanies, there were several songs of Lauren’s that belonged somewhere other than The Bodega. Her newer efforts experiment more with production that echoes The XX and Haim, and here her voice shone. Lauren Aquilina’s new single, ‘Low’, provided an opener that felt fittingly modern. It almost seemed like something from Florence + the Machine’s new album. Naturally, the crowd loved it.

Her biggest hits gained the biggest responses, however. Her fans cheered whenever she announced the names of the songs they loved the most – ‘King’ and ‘Fools’ had people ecstatic, screaming, dancing and singing along. A mashup of The Weeknd and Katy Perry demonstrated Lauren’s command of songs other than her own; instead of feeling gratuitous, it was an example of a fresh take on the songs in an era when Youtubers scurry to upload their covers in their thousands.

Lauren Aquilina’s support act, Chløë Black, was fantastic. A moody mix of Lorde and Lana, her songs were beautiful and dark and wry. Anyone who asks the crowd if they like Tarantino before introducing their song ‘Death Proof’ is a real winner in my eyes, and her cover of ‘Runaway’ by Kanye West was astounding. If Chløë decided to lead her own UK tour, I would make sure to attend. She is an artist who is fully secure in her sound and aesthetic.

Find out more about Lauren Aquilina at facebook.com/laurenaquilinamusic and check out Chløë Black at facebook.com/chloeblackmusic

 

Edited by Georgina Varley

Image sources:

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