'She has effortless charm and grace. How French is that?'
Lawrence Poole

14:13 20th July 2012

The owners of the French brasseries of London town must have done a collective Gallic shrug as they stood amongst empty table after empty table when it came to 9.30pm last night.

This is because it appeared the majority of their usual ex-pat customers had descended on the Strand to catch willowy Ango-French starlet Charlotte Gainsbourg in concert judging by the swarthy looking men and exquisitely attired French ladies dotted about at surely one of the classiest gigs of 2012 so far.

The London-born temptress and daughter to iconic French maverick poet and performer Serge Gainsbourg and English singer Jane Birkin was raised in Paris and certainly carries herself with all the sophistication and quiet charm one would expect from an artist from the French capital.

Joined on stage by a clutch of versatile musicians also suitably decked out in ice white attire, they proved a tight and enlightening combo.

Charlotte's nervous start on the bass heavy 'Terrible Angels' and hesitant 'Greenwich Mean Time' was soon ushered away by the arrival of singer-songwriter Connan Mockasin to the fore.

The guitarist, who shared more than a passing resemblance to Keith Lemon of Celebrity Juice fame - a comparision I'm sure which would horrify him - seemed to reassure Charlotte with his presence and from then on in the show went from strength to strength.

'Ouvertures éclair' was a sinewy French pop treat, while the vibrant 'Go Let It Go' was a mid-set highlight.

It was the instantly familiar space-age keyboard intro to David Bowie's 'Ashes To Ashes' which proved an unexpected bonus though, as Charlotte and the gang did a sublime job of injecting a lazy, Gallic sophistication into the Thin White Duke's other-worldly classic.

Any fears the rest of the set might struggle to maintain the rush of hearing such a track in beautifully tranquil surroundings thankfully quickly evaporated with a heartfelt 'Don't Forget to Forget Me' and party-fuelled 'Paradisco' bringing things to a close.

The 40-year-old remains a beguiling and intriguing performer who makes up for vocal presence with effortless charm and grace - and just how French is that?

Photo: WENN.com