Krystle Warren @ The Toff In Town
With zero exposure to any of Krystle Warren’s music, I had no idea what to expect when I arrived at The Toff Tuesday evening. After taking a seat, my friend and I both noticed how diverse the crowd was, which interested us. With a colourful mix bag audience, I began creating high expectations about the universality of her music.
Up first, however, was supporting act Piers Twomey. I know the saying “never judge a book by its cover” always rings true, yet I am victim to presuming the opening act will indicate, on some level, the musical prowess (so to speak) of the main performance. In this case, like many others, I was very wrong. While he similarly dabbled with folk, he stood in stark contrast to Krystle. With song after song blending into the last, topped with limited vocal range and skewed pitch, it was an overall monotonous performance.
At this stage I felt bad for dragging my friend away from her home, after spending much time convincing her about this Parisian-based soul singer. I realised I had made a mistake for not checking out her music before signing up to the review.
Wrong. She was insanely phenomenal. It isn’t too often that you find an artist who can simply sit on stage with a guitar and keep the audience enthralled minus flashy stage/performance elements. With no introduction, Krystle leapt straight into the first song moments after the curtains had parted. Later she admitted to not being skilled with banter, which was neither here nor there, after hearing her voice.
With a deep and husky timbre, I can see why Krystle has been likened to Nina Simone. Her rich and potent notes were strong, creeping into every corner of the venue. With superb pitch and a huge vocal range, she was able to control her crescendos, working in some astounding goosebump moments. At the end of one song, the audience literally “ahh’d” before applause.
While she claimed to not be talented at talking in between songs, her slightly awkward presence was refreshing. At one stage she began a song only to pull back three seconds later saying, “Wait. They’re definitely the wrong lyrics.” Toward the end of the show she embarked on something that my friend eloquently phrased as “that rare kind of audience participation that isn’t bullshit”. Coordinating a three part harmony between the audience, we sung the lyrics “forgot me not” to support her melody.
In this particular case, having no expectations was the best thing I could have asked for. Not only was I surprised, but I am now a fan. Better yet, my friend (who is extremely conservative with her praise) described Krystle as “amazing”. Win-Win. I recommend you catch her at the Brunswick Town Hall as part of the Brunswick Music Festival this Sunday March 25.
BY TAMARA VOGL
LOVED: Her voice.
HATED: People in the audience shouting across the room once a song was sung in an attempt to have a conversation with Krystle.