Charlie Austen (Supporting Nine Below Zero) at Sub Rooms, Stroud 30th November 22022
At times it is worth corrupting the norm to prove a point.
In front of a mainly blokey and definitely partisan audience the female singer & song-writer walked out onto the stage, alone. Charlie Austen’s role, ostensibly, was to fill the time before the venerable Nine Below Zero ascended their head-lining role.
However, with a back-pocket full of personal songs the self-assured songstress disarmed the testosterone fuelled audience and set about winning us over with tales of breaking-up, of being single and modern life.
Austen’s toy-like guitar was moulded and fashioned into a repertoire of songs which provoked calls of support and admiration from the audience. The singer’s voice is at once soulful, quirky and identifiably her own. As a direct consequence her audience settled in for a pleasurable half an hour. This is no mean feat and the bare-footed singer’s qualities should not be under-estimated; Austen even pulled them in from the bar to appreciate her stage craft. Blimey.
The songs were interspersed with humour which also provoked appreciative laughter: “Please do follow me but just make sure it’s on social media.” The introduction of Austen’s home-made “drum machine” up-cycled from an old suitcase was a whimsical aside that caused a ripple of snickering.
Charlie Austen made herself available after her thirty minutes of fame and was highly approachable. I know because I commended her on her night’s achievements. Still, as my mate pointed out afterwards, I wish I had refastened my belt, after coming out of the toilet and approaching her…sorry.
Personally, I just wanted to prove a point, “support acts” in all their guises deserve our attention as well. After her one woman show Charlie Austen proceeded to perform for 90 minutes with Nine Below Zero. Of course, Dennis Greaves was incredibly kind towards her contribution to the night. Must be a matter of time before Charlie Austen the singer replaces Charlie Austin the footballer at the top of Google searches.
The Swilgate Scuttler