2008 may have had whole economies running for cover, but it certainly didn’t stop the Netherlands from welcoming a modern-day soul man into their hearts as Clark took the charts by storm with his breakout album, Live It Out. Having conquered Holland, the charming Clark has set his sights on the UK. And what better a venue to showcase his moving voice than London's Pigalle Club.
The gentlemen’s club in the heart of Piccadilly Circus was heaving at the seams as Clark took to the stage, joined by his stellar backing line-up. Dressed in casual threads with headgear reminiscent of smooth operators of the genre, he launches into opener 'Blow Me Away' which ironically could be heard strikingly, if not viewed through the furore.
And blow all away he did, a ranged and controlled rhythm engulfing the club in a wall of soulful sounds. In terms of UK comparisons, the only singer who could match that vocal powerhouse would be the likes of Will Young, but Clark will draw flattering comparisons to artists of the calibre of Maxwell and maybe even his hero, Stevie Wonder.
Contemporary and relevant, Clark is the sort of talent Simon Cowell would spend his whole life looking for as he launches into 'This Ain’t Gonna Work'. It's amazing how so much emotion and drive can translate in one performance, but we hadn’t seen anything yet.
Clark’s father, Dane, himself a soul singer of the past, loyally supporting his prodigal son in the audience is ushered onstage to join Alain for something seen so rarely in modern music. The moving ballad, ‘Father & Friend’ soared to #2 in the Dutch charts, but may just eclipse that feat if not here, certainly stateside. The chemistry and feeling between father and son is poetry in motion on stage, as Clark throws down his guitar, so caught in the moment – just scintillating to witness. It was a powerful melody which encompassed the culmination of years of hard work and drive.
Although one was aware that it would be very difficult to top that touching moment, Clark also played the more sombre number, ‘Fell in Love’, before an energetic cover of the Otis Redding classic, ‘Hard to Handle’ – which settled behind ‘Father & Friend’ in a well-deserved runners-up position.
It was clear to see what the hype was all about surrounding Alain Clark. He will need to tour to ensure that his talent doesn’t go un-noticed, but with a voice like that - and his team planning his UK assault as we speak - he has every chance of making the big time in Britain.