Fable – The Prince Albert – 23rd September 2016

By the time I got to The Albert on Friday night Fable and her band were already in full-swing and the darkened room was full to bursting with fans eager to catch up with the latest developments from this exciting new emerging artist. Fable arrived on the Brighton scene a couple of years ago as a fully-stylised vision; a clearly defined aesthetic fronted by an enigmatic performer has epitomised her appearances and releases so far. Tonight is no different on that front, if anything she's ramping things up a gear – the band are more on board, wearing dark outfits, the bassist with an over-sized medieval-looking hood, an Ouroboros symbol (the mythical serpent that consumes its own tail) popping up here and there. Fable is ever more provocative, scantily clad in a see-through fishnet top, with crosses of black tape covering her nipples. Perhaps it should come across as more overtly sexual, but I don't even notice this feature at first as I am drawn in by the flourishing hands of her performance, and those dark-lined intense eyes. She fixes the crowd with powerful stares, as if she is here to judge us, and not the other way round.

But, even as it becomes more polished and more refined, we knew all of this. We expected it. Tonight we're here for the promise of new material and I am just on time as the closing bars and fantastic arpeggios of 'I Speak Words' give way to the driving rhythm of 'Tourist'. It's immediately my new favourite, it departs a little from the sound blueprint, but only in that it enlarges it. It has a killer chorus about not being able to stand up for falling down and as soon as it's over I want to hear it again! The other new tracks of the night make less of an impression upon me, but that's okay. The audience are here for the spectacle and raise their muttering voices to distract us from a really stripped back gentle number. But I can see this is because of the unfamiliarity, both for the performers and listeners, as evidenced by the reverent reception 'Silence Myself' receives when played later in the set. It’s another bare bones number but, with audience familiarity and absolute confidence, it charms the stars down from heaven and we are all mesmerised.

She closes the set with her lauded Bowie cover of ‘Let’s Dance’ and powerful early single ‘Fragile’. I have to confess I’m one of the few detractors from the cover, I find it odd that the groove they’ve chosen is not a particularly danceable one, but it’s had accolades from members of the Bowie camp and it certainly pulls out a huge response from the crowd and gives Fable the platform to step-up an already hyped performance. I’m more of a fan of closer ‘Fragile’, which is epic tonight, but it’s ‘Tourist’ that leaves the most lasting impression and I’m more eager than ever to hear what they produce from their next round of recording sessions. The stage is set, all she really needs is one killer single to put her on the map – and maybe, just maybe, now she has it.

Adam Kidd