In a King’s Cross pub, Natalie Prass made tentative steps towards bringing her sumptuous sound to London.
The Virginia singer-songwriter’s first headline appearance here was as part of a quartet, rather than with the dozens who appear on her extraordinary debut album, out this week. She makes rich, million-dollar soul, drenched in strings and horns, that would be better suited to the Albert Hall.
Give her time. This minimal approximation of her recorded sound still had appeal, not least her high, sweet voice, particularly emotional on My Baby Don’t Understand Me and Bird Of Prey.
She had an engaging presence, fine features peeping out beneath a heavy fringe, with bearded men all about her, clearly enjoying being among friends. “I like your jacket. I would wear that,” she said to one fan.
The band left and she produced a local string quartet for her baroque tale of female jealousy, Christie. They could have stuck around for other songs, where Trey Pollard’s surprisingly raw guitar stood in for most of the extra instrumentation.
As a smouldering Janet Jackson cover proved, she won’t be pigeonholed as the latest piano-hugging Carole King type.
When she can get a bigger band over, watch her fly.