Charlotte Gainsbourg on closing night of the BBC 6 Music Festival last weekend. The perfect capper to an extraordinary three day festival that will be hard, if not impossible, to beat this coming Festival season.
Knowing Charlotte Gainsbourg’s work, as an actress first and later as a singer, it wasn’t until recently that I discovered what a truly astonishing artist she is – there was the presence and perhaps shadow of her father Serge Gainsbourg, who was an icon and someone I was a huge fan of going back to college days and that probably shaded my initial appreciation of her work. But they are two separate people with two distinctly different points of view. And I realized that when I heard one of her concerts in Paris last year. Who I was hearing wasn’t just a talented offspring, it was an engrossing and riveting experience that was transformative and energizing.
And the concert from Liverpool last week has taken the experience a few levels further. I think the earlier concert was one of the first since she emerged from her self-imposed retreat from the public eye; the period of introspection and re-evaluation. What’s different now is the ease and comfort she has with the audience, with her talent.
What I found truly interesting about this performance is that it came after a set from Gang Of Four – how the two seemed completely compatible with each other – a seamless transition from one musical style to another. That amazing power of music that, at once is built on honesty and conviction, creates an experience that is profound and pivotal.
One of the reasons I found the 6 Music Festival so successful was the juxtaposition of artists in a seamless and thoroughly complimentary fashion. That Charlotte Gainsbourg wound up being one of the headliners on closing night was no accident – it was a logical conclusion and a testimony to an artist with a reservoir of expressions to convey. It is music from the heart and its a celebration of that spirit – and it’s a welcome one, especially now.
Play loud and repeat often. She’s currently on tour in the States, playing Coachella in a couple weeks. Try and catch her in concert if you can.