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Current concise reviews of the albums by adult alternative, contemporary, and crossover artists. Images of album artwork and links to both internet-based resources are always included. Click on the title to view the article.

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Lucie Silvas
Image © Chrysalis Records 2005

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Breathe In/What You're Made Of


(24 April 2005) Live at Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton. Had she not told the audience so towards the end of the evening, then nobody could have guessed that the gig on 23 April 2005 at Wulfrun Hall was Lucie Silvas' first-ever live solo concert. With a six-piece band placed well towards the back of the stage, and a large grand piano standing stage left, full attention was always on the talented British singer-songwriter. Of course, a sequence of three hit singles in the UK and a hit album helped, as did her perfect looks. She is simply stunning in the flesh, with her blonde locks cascading over her shoulders, and what she lacks in charisma she makes up for with a vulnerable, yet confident charm.

Thankfully, her looks were not over-exploited. There were no changes to her casual jeans-and-jacket costume through the 75-minute set, and care seems to have been taken to present Lucie as a singer songwriter of some talent and not a sex object. Indeed, two Lucie's were on display here, firstly the crowd-pleasing diva on the up tempo numbers, like the excellent hit single "Breathe In," during which she strode confidently about the stage inviting the audience to sing along. Secondly, we saw the introspective singer songwriter on the quieter numbers, like "No Defence," which she sang accompanied only by her own piano. Then, of course, there is the voice, and what a voice she has--powerful, soulful, and perfectly pitched. Most remarkably, it all seems so effortless, though she never overdoes it, avoiding the irritating vocal gymnastics of Maria Carey or Christina Aguilera.

The sound--sometimes an afterthought at mainstream concerts--was immaculate throughout, with quieter instruments audible through the mix throughout. Indeed, the whole concert was presented with a minimum of glitz and with am emphasis on the music. There was no choreography, and any schmaltz was kept largely to within the songs themselves. A moment where Lucie kissed a small child presented to her from the audience (this was very much a show for all ages) can be forgiven since it was completely spontaneous. A few members of her very professional band stood out in particular Most notable were the two backing vocalists: Lucies' sister Mia (familiar from Judie Tzuke's band) excelled on harmony vocals and percussion, and long-time collaborator Richard Lobb (who also opened the concert with an excellent 30 minute solo set). Eagle-eyed Tzuke fans will also have spotted guitarist Graham Kearns almost hidden at the back of the stage, though his Les Paul solo on the splendid “Twisting the Chain” was a high point of the evening. Other highlights included the gospel-tinged closer "The Longer We're Apart," outstanding despite the lack of a choir, and the dramatic new single "The Game is One."

The main set list for the performance included: "Don't Look Back," "Build Your World Around," "What Your Made Of," "It's Too Late," "Breathe In," "Nothing Else Matters," "Twisting the Chain," "No Defence," "Without You," "Last Man Standing," "Deeper," "The Game is Won." Encores included: "Forget Me Not" and "The Longer We're Apart.

But this was very much the Lucie Show, and as a first toe in the water of live performance it was, if undemanding, an entertaining and musically credible success.--Stephen Lambe in Cheltenham England

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