Charlotte Hatherley wants us to know something... She has a fine voice, she knows how to write a good song, she's a gifted live performer and she's certainly not just the girl that used to be in Ash.
The Londoner sets about proving these points with the help of her latest single and a five piece backing band which includes former Clor man Luke Smith and regular Graham Coxon drummer Stuffy as part of a two person drum team.
'I Want You To Know' is quickly followed by a brace of first album highlights, namely 'Kim Wilde' and 'Summer' as Hatherley et al settle into the gig in front of a courteous but never over animated Limelight crowd, seemingly made up more of intrigued newcomers than ardent fans.
That said, it is not until recent single 'Behave' that the night really gets going. 'Again' pounds along two drummers in step as if Hope of the States had suddenly reformed with a little less emphasis on being epic and a little more on creating a high class piece of indie pop.
Charlotte seems to developing a speciality in slow burners that suddenly burst into life as much like earlier track 'Be Thankful', 'Roll Over (Let It Go)' jerks into existence part way through as drums take over from keys and we get reminded just how accomplished a guitar player Ms. Hatherley is, before the night reaches its high point with a rasping version of 'Bastardo'. Extra cool points for finishing off the set with 'This Is Pop', an old XTC song from 1978.
Charlotte Hatherley finds herself in a strange position as a female singer-songwriter in today's climate. She doesn't have the marketing budget or big label backing of a Lily Allen or KT Tunstall having released her latest long player on her own Little Sister label, nor has she the loyal fan base of someone like Gemma Hayes (well not yet a least), but what she lacks in these areas she seems to make up for in critical acclaim, and rightly so.
It's not quite the finished product just yet but with a little more airplay and a few more nights like this it will soon become apparent that the girl sometimes viewed as a mere addition to the Ash machine is somewhat more interesting than the sum she was once part off.
Photos by Paul Smith