And then it happens again: mother London brings a smile back on our face with a special night and one of her most special people, in a room that feels too tiny to hold so much love and, indeed, so much talent. Camden hidden gem The Green Note opens its doors and arms to tonight’s punters, filling the atmosphere with laughter and expectations.
There’s something about certain small venues in London, a goose-bump-inducing vibe of history in the making that no O2 will ever have. Tonight the voice auditioning for a chapter in the book of music greatness is that of Melissa James; I’ve seen her once before but, as we enter the venue bizarrely finding ourselves on stage, we know there’s something different.
Visibly emotional, yet confident like she’s been performing every night for the past 50 years, Melissa was clearly born to do just this. Her soulful, intense voice precedes her as she hides behind the curtain, leaving the room mute and wide-eyed in anticipation.
As she graces the stage in a simple, classy red outfit, she starts alternating tracks from her debut album with new material to test ride and the audience gives the thumb up: every song is welcomed with respectful astonished silence and greeted at the end with enthusiastic cheers. Even Tom Robinson makes an appearance for an entertaining duet with our star-to-be, but the truth is that – physically and emotionally – we’re all up there with her tonight.
On the glass ceiling, the stars mix with the candles’ reflection; tonight feels a bit like the end of an episode of Ally McBeal, where special guests are just a background to the life that happens in the room, their music the soundtrack to the punters’ stories.
Melissa’s huge smile is that of someone who loves music so much it doesn’t matter if it will ever pay the bills. Sure it does, it will tomorrow, but not now: now the joy of having a voice is all the reward this girl is looking for. If happiness is a moment, that is the smile that defines it.
Cristina Massei – Sonic Shocks, April 2013