It’s a cold, autumnal evening and Southampton city centre is hardly buzzing as I approach the Joiners Arms in half-hearted drizzle. There’s not a soul in sight: outside the venue or down the dark alley to the right of it, and I almost wonder whether I’ve turned up on the right night. That is, until I go inside. The scruffy, jaded, pub-cum-music-venue has transformed into a dark, enchanted fairy castle reminiscent of a setting from Grimms’ Fairy Tales. The stage is adorned with ivy and twinkling fairy lights to create a secret garden that’s ready and waiting for Kyla La Grange’s magical and musical emergence.
She opens with the powerful ‘Woke Up Dead’. Her eerie vocals immediately dominate the Joiners as she appears on stage clad in a gothic black leather and lace dress. She continues with ‘Courage’ and then her newest single ‘Been Better’, a favourite among fans for its opening rock guitar riff and catchy tune. My personal favourite, however, was ‘To Be Torn’: a mesmerising dirge-like song of heartbreak that combines ghostly vocals and simple piano chords, to achieve a spine-chilling effect among listeners. When performing she is so consumed with energy and passion, it is almost as if she’s been possessed. It is therefore strange that between songs she is shy, and so nervous that the energy drops and the audience feel a little on the awkward side. Yet, the quality of her performing is flawless.
Kyla La Grange has a bewitching voice and the ability to hypnotise listeners through her music. Her set is beautifully sinister and ethereal, somewhat like a Kate Bush-inspired dream/nightmare sequence, and she is only let down by her lack of confidence between songs.
Kyla La Grange’s debut album Ashes is available to buy now.