Music review: Helene: Bonsoior Monsieur Nightfall
Music review: Helene: Bonsoior Monsieur Nightfall

Edinburgh Festival Fringe music review: Helene: Bonsoior Monsieur Nightfall, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Jim Gilchrist. ★★★ Having re-invented herself from a previous incarnation as “gypsy noir” performer Patti Plinko, the singer now known as Helene has been through the mill, by her own account, and her voice, her candour and raw unleashing of pent-up emotion …

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Edinburgh Festival

Edinburgh Festival Fringe music review: Helene: Bonsoior Monsieur Nightfall, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Jim Gilchrist.

★★★

Having re-invented herself from a previous incarnation as “gypsy noir” performer Patti Plinko, the singer now known as Helene has been through the mill, by her own account, and her voice, her candour and raw unleashing of pent-up emotion certainly reflects it. She’s accompanied by a neat five-piece swing band of trumpets, guitars and bass, but opens the show unaccompanied except for her own guitar, emerging from the shadows to give husky and heavily accented delivery to a song about “young love for sale”, a reflection, like much of her repertoire, of her period living rough on the streets of Paris and London.

Her style of grungy chanson was pretty full-on much of the time, from throaty Gallic growl to a desperately raw outpouring of lyrics that slurred into scat singing, as in the catchy Madame Sunshine. A melancholy cover of the old hit Blue Moon led into serious chanson territory with a lingeringly intense version of Jacques Brel’s Ne Me Quitte Pas, although one couldn’t help thinking that at times she just tries too hard, laying on the angst that bit too thick.

And she really needs someone to show her how to get some rhythm out of those shakers during the band’s up-beat closing calypso.

Assembly Roxy (Venue 139) until 30 August / listings

Published in The Scotsman on 26 August 2015

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