Thursday, 1 April 2010

Karima Francis @ Band on the Wall, Wednesday 24th March

Karima Francis is a 21 year old lady, Blackpool born and bred, but now based in Manchester. The adopted hometown Band on the Wall show sees a mixture of her 2009 album The Author and a few previews of new songs. It’s hard not to be taken aback by both the power and compassion of her voice, so as she takes to the stage you can tell that her tiny frame surprises those in the audience who are seeing her for the first time. The combination of voice and body size is hard to compute.

She is 75% hair, 20% smile, with the remaining 5% dedicated to playing the guitar. All of her is lovely. The start of the gig is marred by technical issues, resulting in losing her favourite guitar, and Karima is genuinely concerned for the audience: "I just wanted everything to be perfect for tonight," she tells us, "I feel like I want to give you all your money back." Thankfully for the Band on the Wall management, they don't have to resort to that.

After the sound man manages to put her back on track, albeit with her back-up guitar, Karima cracks into her first song of the evening, 'Francis'. We see the sound man again as the gig continues with a couple more hitches, along with engaging banter in between songs including the crowd pleasing 'Hold You' and her most upbeat tune 'Again'.

The show is full of high points, with one of the more poignant coming during the title track of Karima's album The Author, leaving some gobsmacked in silent appreciation, whilst bringing tears to the eyes of others.

For the rest of the gig Karima remains apologetic for the slightly shaky start, but it is clear to see that very few people are dwelling on it. The audience do use this to their advantage though, signified by the blonde lady who gets her way when begging for Karima's version of ‘Use Somebody’ by Kings of Leon, which is played as the last song in the encore.

Words & Images: Kobestarr

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