Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Mercury Darling Clementine Puts on a Five-Star Show; REVIEW BENJAMIN CLEMENTINE St John at Hackney Church, E5

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Mercury Darling Clementine Puts on a Five-Star Show; REVIEW BENJAMIN CLEMENTINE St John at Hackney Church, E5

Article excerpt

Byline: andre paine

WHEN Benjamin Clementine won the Mercury prize a fortnight ago, some critics described him as obscure.

Well, up to a point. Although the singer and pianist's debut album only entered the top 40 post-Mercury, his first major press interview and a live review appeared in this paper almost exactly two years ago.

So while there were new admirers at this sold-out show, Clementine's no overnight success. A lengthy spell in Paris busking on the Metro is part of his mythology, along with abject loneliness when growing up in Edmonton.

Of course, Clementine's not so lonely these days. In Hackney, fans launched into a rendition of Happy Birthday that left the barefooted singer -- who had turned 27 -- visibly moved.

"It's the first time I've had that," he murmured, which made you wonder just how unhappy his childhood was.

Clementine referenced his formative years -- as well as the A406 -- on Gone, during which his warm baritone took flight. He was soon joined by a cellist and a drummer, who added a rumbling rhythm to the soulful Condolence. …

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