Josephine @Bush Hall 06/02/13

4 stars (out of 5)

0

So I wouldn’t normally go to a small, glamour-free, square (in shape) venue like Bush Hall in Shepherd’s Bush on a cold Wednesday evening in February; my editor Allan and his camera would and probably has but I’d rather stay in and press play. The thought of seeing and more importantly hearing Mancunian Josephine play songs from her sweet and soulful debut album proved too strong though and at 8:30pm I was standing in said hall and looking at a nervous young boy with a guitar called George Ezra whilst he passionately and skilfully sang his 5 or so songs before dashing out to get his train back to Bristol.

At 9 o’clock Josephine and musical partner, Steve, walked onto the tiny stage (with Josephine looking more Studio 54 than you might have imagined in skyscraper heels and a silky bustier pant suit), strapped on their guitars and the beauty begun to unfold. Opening with the stately “I Think it was Love”, Josephine finished the song revealing relief that the hardest song was thankfully out of the way and she could now relax, not that you would have ever known she was anything other than comfortable and confident in front of a pretty packed room. This was a tight 55 minute set consisting mainly of tracks from the surprisingly strong “Portrait” debut album; Josephine is a masterful vocalist with a charming stage presence. The more uptime pop of “A Freak A” and big, warm-hearted “Original Love” were crowd favourites, well-known enough for people to sing along but it was on the waltz-time, Cabaret-like album closer and her most distinctive track “House of Mirrors” that Josephine, stripped of the guitars she had held close to her all night, made for a humble, vulnerable and moving presence.

As a warm up for her first tour proper in April after completing her current support slot with Paloma Faith, Josephine proves that she can hold a room’s attention and I, for one, look forward to experiencing her with a full band in a venue that can fully accommodate her blossoming and considerable talent.