In a smokey room she stands, a silhouette on a hazy stage, tongue twisting tales of the bittersweet, despair and torment entwined within the details of rueful romances. On the 30th of May Alexandra Savior took to the stage of London's Scala to sing songs from her ethereal debut album Belladonna of Sadness.
As the sun sets on Kings Cross station the low murmur of a waiting crowd is muted by the shadow of a songstress crossing the stage. Her arms rise with the beginnings of Frankie and then, with the flicker of a smile, a fleeting glance at her guitarist, her lips part and her voice cuts through the night; crystalline and hemmed with woe. As she sways her hips through favourites such as Bones and Mirage she sips a glass of red wine and hunches over the microphone stand, eyes locked on the audience. Like a jilted Hollywood actress, all tears and smeared mascara, she emanates a haunting air of woe, bitterness and self pity. Her fringe falls across her eyes, her hair hanging loose down by her shoulders as she tenses her jaw, voice shaking. She is the woman scorned, teetering on the edge of hysterics, struggling with a twisted cocktail of emotions as her lips curl around the lyrics, the details of a sordid affair with love, lust and passion.
Perhaps the most striking moment, the scene that leaves the hairs on your arms brisling with the lingering sensation that you've seen too much, is during M.T.M.E when Savior embraces her vulnerabilities and curls around the microphone, knuckles white as she grips the stand and locks eyes with a stranger. Her body shakes and shivers, she is leaves clinging to a branch swept up in a storm, torn from their life support machine and cast away to oblivion, and, as her emotional turmoil rises and manifests itself in her throat, she releases it in the form of an ear-piercing scream.
She holds the audience in the palm of her hands winding them round her little finger with a melody so sublime (Cupid) she blurs the line between reality and the dream. Yearning aches in the reverberations of her voice. There are moments amid the delicate chimes when blue and red light pour down, contouring the starlets cheekbones, pooling in her eyes and the audience lose track of time. She is gentle and she is tender just as suddenly as she is seething and fierce. As the spotlight softens so does she, wide eyes and a glance over her shoulder, overwhelmed by an unexpected applause. Just as quickly as it appears shimmering in the whites of her eyes, all innocence is lost to the mysticism of brooding guitar swells and synthesisers. She is almost an illusion and the deeper into her set you delve the harder it becomes to tell who she is, where you are. Are we watching Alexandra Savior in a venue in London, or are we watching Anna Marie Mirage somewhere in a saloon at the back of her mind?
The beauty of her performance is that we'll never know.