Chloé Bodur – The Hope & Ruin, Brighton – 24th September 2018

Photo by Liam McMillen

It’s been over four months since Chloé Bodur’s last gig, which came at The Great Escape festival. Time has been kind to the Brighton-based BIMM artist, though, as her new “reworked” set was dynamic, lively and brimming with exotic soul. There’s always been a lowkey nature to Bodur – since the arrival of debut single ‘Glory’ last November – but, based on her set at The Hope & Ruin for QM Records’ BIMM Freshers bash, she’s now got the confidence and the swagger to take her set – and her sound – to the next level.

It proved to be r’n’b and soul all evening too, which is what we’ve come to expect from QM Records’ eclectic booking. Showcasing the more soulful side of Brighton, the night was kicked off by Malaysian-born, Brighton-based artist Kai Khan. Taking influence from chart dance-pop such as Disclosure, Katy B and Rudimental, there’s a dynamism and vibrance to Khan’s music which got the whole Hope & Ruin crowd moving. With recent single ‘Ruin’ providing the highlight, Khan offers something that no other Brighton artist can: mainstream style pop beats, and an exuberance and assurance vocally to provide a polished, chart-ready sound.

Next up was Francesca Fulmini, who’s been wowing audiences for the last few years now but is finally about to drop her debut single ‘One Step’ in October. With soulful melodies, and beats that take inspiration from hip-hop, Fulmini’s impressiveness comes from her absurdly talented voice. Whether she’s taking on a soul jam, or a quieter number, there’s a diversity to her voice which means she can tackle just about anything she puts her mind to. ‘One Step’, too, sounded terrific, and looks set to be the next earworm surrounding the Brighton scene.

The night was perfectly rounded off by Chloé Bodur’s brilliant grooves. With a trombone, and a well-rounded band behind her, there’s an all-around glow to both Chloé and her band, as if it’s the perfect fit. Having tried various members and formulas, Bodur looks like she’s finally struck gold with this line-up and her set is all the more impressive because of it. With lead single ‘Glory’, a thriving, slow ballad of a soul number, providing the set highlight, this was incredibly impressive indeed.

With a voice that evokes some of the all-time greats such as Billie Holiday and Dionne Warwick, and a band that provide an alluring glamour, Chloé Bodur could be one of Brighton’s hidden secrets. Having said she’s got no more headline shows in Brighton until February of next year, this was a lovely treat and one I’m sure the freshers won’t forget. It’s certainly going to be a long wait until February next year!

Liam McMillen