Alin Coen takes the stage in the packed Fluxbau and approaches the microphone while staring down at the acoustic guitar she has strapped to herself. She will win the crowd anew repeatedly through her peformance and this is the first point when that happens: when she suddenly looks up and gives everyone the most infectious smile this side of the Pyrenees.
Then she starts singing and her voice is pure and heartfelt: that most rarest of things, unbelaboured but heartfelt emotion. This sense of striking honesty stays with me all the way until she sings her two songs in English, and strangely when she does this, the magic that she has woven until this moment is suddenly gone, which leaves me wondering if the fault is with her or me.
Heartfelt singing and songwriting is that particular thing. All you’ve got is your sensitivity and intelligence in dealing with the issue. You can forget the marks for originality. So you’re always treading an impossibly thin line between getting it just right and getting everyone reaching for their hankys, or striking either a false or not absolutely suitable note which will lead to everyone slowly filing out, muttering about toilets or getting another beer.
It’s not easy being an impassioned singer-songwriter these days. But Alin carried it very well. She’s also a natural on stage. Great performace, great woman. And after this intimate solo club gig she would go on to perform to the thousands at the Berlin Festival with her band later in the week, winning over a whole other bunch of people. Fair play.
Review by Noel Maurice