Gig Review: Frances @ The Lantern 23/5/16

by Polly Hember

Sophie Frances Cooke, the Berkshire born songstress better known as Frances was shortlisted for the 2016 BRIT Critic’s Choice Award and nominated for the BBC Sound of 2016. With her debut EP Let It Out released, and her hit single ‘Don’t Worry About Me’ radio-ready and signed to Sam Smith’s management company… she is, by all accounts, going to be big. On the Beat had the chance to see her play the modest Lantern stage at Colston Hall performing powerful, confessional pop.

Support came in the form of singer-songwriter Jack Watts, who warmed up the large crowd nicely. He appeared with his electric guitar and his songs indulgently delved into his experiences of break-ups, establishing a reflective and feeling tone that Frances would expand on.  

Frances delivered a mesmerising live performance, playing with a piano with a raw, stripped-back feel to her melodic ballads. This masterful piano-playing and effortless vocals contributed to a harmonious simplicity that was a joy to behold. She performed songs from her EP, with ‘Don’t Worry About Me’, ‘Grow’ and ‘Cloud Nine’ being definite highlights, scattering a new material from her upcoming album throughout the polished set.

With such an overload of confessional, reflective ballads, one might be in danger of falling into maudlin melancholia – but Frances’s confident on-stage handling of her material allowed for a relaxed night that was also hilarious at points, picking up the energy through self-depreciating jokes and witty anecdotes.

Frances has been compared to the likes of Carole King and (rather relentlessly) Adele thanks to her reflective and emotive material. These are big shoes to fill, but Frances demonstrated her artful autonomy from these iconic artists as she effortlessly delivered a seamless set punctuated by endearing detours. The 22-year-old songstress is geared to receive the appreciation and widespread acclaim her music deserves, and we urge you to see her live at this exciting, nascent point in her career to experience the simple magic of a strong voice and artful song-writing, before she goes on to sell out stadiums.

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Check out Frances social links to find out where her next gig will be. 

If you like Frances, you'll love the support Jack Watts. Check out his soundcloud for a taster. 

Image Credit: crackmagazine.com, francesmusic.com, jackwattsmusic.com.

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