With a packed and excited house once again Chantel worked her charm with the audience at Borough Blues from the first note she sang and chord played everyone sat back to be entertained. The band provided the rhythm section, a solid mastery provided by Rich Ritchie (bass) and Keith (drums) who played there instrument of choice with style and little bit of magic, Ritchie introducing some funky sounds and the thwang of the bass strings being slapped on his five string bass providing style and tonal depth. Whilst Keith McPartling was not a metronomic backline or the drummer that want’s to dominate, his playing was a paced, superbly timed and judged percussive performance, at times he had a surprisingly gentle touch for such a hard hitter. The band is complete with axe-woman extraordinaire Chantel, the bubbly young Yorkshire lass whose smile and delightful turn of phrase would brighten up anyone’s day.
Chantel’s set included lots of tracks of her début acclaimed album ‘Like No Other’, and for many this was an opportunity to purchase their own signed copies, but for many others in the audience are eagerly awaiting a follow-up album, whose songs are currently being written. It is Chantel’s exceptionally busy gigging up, down and across the U.K. that is, unsurprisingly, slowing the process down! Opening the evening with ‘Fabulous’ she set the club alight with the cheerful lyrics, and a display of jaw-droppingly good guitar playing and this was just the first song of the evening. An interesting instrumental ‘Pink Sky’ was included in the first set, this was full of musical textures and tones that had snippets of chords and rifts from a variety of sources whilst absolutely Chantel’s own in style and flair, this instrumental gave her the freedom to soar with her guitar to places beyond your imagination, but she knew when to bring it to a close, so that like Goldilocks’ porridge the instrumental is just the right tempo and just the right length. Whatever song she is playing – whether her own compositions or well loved covers – she delivers them with ease making the whole guitar playing look simplicity itself; when we all know it is a display of virtuosity playing that is not self-indulgent but inclusive so no long overplayed lead guitar break, but a band that are a single unity keeping shape and delivering music you really want to listen to and enjoying each other’s skills and talents. Chantel delighted the crowds with requested numbers and despite no acoustic with her played acoustic style on electric with a stellar cover of ‘Bruno Mars, Grenade‘. This is what makes sets from Chantel so interesting you do not get the same covers, same set lists she changes and adapts to the audience. No wonder she sells out, people feel engaged with her, they love the way she remembers them and includes songs they love and a Chantel gig is a two-way, no, a three-way conversation Chantel witty asides and the audiences responses and delight and then the main conversation the live music which touched hearts, minds and souls of the audiences lifting the spirits on a cold March evening.