Karima Francis and The Clever at Blitz, Preston

Karima Francis by Nicki Jaye

A short while back I gave you readers a review of Karima Francis as she moved on from small piece acoustic artist to working with a full band. This sneak preview at the Beach House was part of their warm up, their rehearsals, trying out what they had put together in the practice rooms on an audience. As I reported back then, this experiment was a resounding success. Now they are setting up for real.

Saturday 22 June at Blitz, live venue and night club, on Great Shaw Street in Preston is going to be a very special night indeed. Karima Francis and The Clever will be taking to the stage and showing the world the full dynamic power of this next step in Karima’s promising career.

“It’s a really big step for me,” said Karima when I asked about the band, “I’ve always played with just one or two session musicians on the road. More in the studio, obviously.”

There is a real sparkle in her eyes. This project has re-affirmed her love for music, and not just as a coping mechanism.

“After my first album I had some issues,” she went on, “the music helped me through and The Remedy (Karima’s second album) came out of that healing process, but people just wanted to talk about the problems and not the music.”

I asked her if this was a driving force behind the move to playing with a band.

“I wouldn’t say driving, I wanted to do something a bit different, something new.” She smiles, “Playing with The Clever, it pushes me as an artist and helps me perform. They push me to be better and visa versa.”

Everything about her is excited. When I saw them at the Beach House she had the look of a woman who had found her groove, and wanted to show it off. Now, sitting here, I can see she is more than ready to deliver.

“The new stuff is just rock ‘n’ roll. Some have said it sounds a bit Pink Floyd, others Fleetwood Mac. I’m happy because I love both of them.”

In my opinion, this new band sound may have hints of these groups, however Karima has such a distinctive voice and writing style you are never standing there saying ‘Oh, that sounds like…’

This is not one of those nights where I would say ‘If you get the chance to go…’ I’m going to say do it. Get a ticket and make sure that in a few years’ time, while you’re sitting watching the Brit Awards you can say ‘I saw them for a fiver!”

I asked Karima how she would sum up her feelings for this musical adventure.

“It’s just me, the band and the music,” she paused for a thought that made her smile, “I’ve never been happier.”

Tickets are £5 for advanced booking and can be purchased from skiddle.com

karima at blitz

Featured photograph by Nicki Jaye

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