LOS ANGELES — Monday was a night for the girls at Bardot Nightclub. As part of “School Night,” a weekly music discovery concert series, Fiona Grey and Grace Carter celebrated life and love.
Fiona Grey displayed her flair for the dramatic from the moment she took the stage, donning a gold outfit with stars on her chest. She started her set with the sultry “Fan Girl,” matching the swelling and climactic roar of the song with her passionate and chaotic delivery.
Grey seemed thrilled to be on stage, smiling and bantering with the crowd after nearly every song. At one point, she detailed her own connection to Bardot, claiming that it was the first club she snuck into when she was 15.
“It’s so cool to be here; I feel like a kid again playing for you guys,” Grey said. She then launched into “Money,” another raucous dark-pop cut exhibiting Grey’s sensual side.
Backup dancers upped the sex appeal, supporting Grey’s playful lyrics and breathy singing. She rarely slowed things down, but when she did, she revealed a captivating rawness and sensitivity.
On the arresting ballad “Girls Like Me,” Grey’s endearing rasp beautifully contrasted with understated keys and drums. Her voice projected with incredible range and power, even without her showmanship.
Grey didn’t waste time upping the energy again.
“It’s girls’ night; let’s get it,” she shouted before launching into a dramatic and glamorous performance of “Savior.” She paraded from the stage and into the crowd, even leaping onto furniture throughout the room.
Before Grey, Grace Carter performed a soulful blend of pop and R&B. For the Brighton, England, native, it was her first performance in the U.S. For such a momentous night, Carter was stunningly calm and confident.
Grace Carter opened with break-up anthem “Ashes,” a moody track that highlighted her commanding voice. Accompanied by only drums and keys, she remained the center of attention with her magnetic charisma.
An early highlight of Carter’s set was an emotional performance of “Silhouette.” She created a palpable intimacy within the bustling club by scaling back her instrumentals. Carter highlighted her sublime falsetto range on this number. At times cracking with pain, her incredibly vulnerable performance echoed through the room.
Carter lightened the mood with crowd-pleaser “Silence.” Feeding off of the crowd’s familiarity with the song, she even tried her hand at a clap-along with the crowd. The song’s thunderous climax resonated all the more through its inspiring message.
Ending with her most recent single, “Why Her Not Me,” Carter again amazed with her vocal prowess. Her live rendition sounded like a studio cut, as every note was delivered with flawless pitch.
Julie Mintz and Minke rounded out the lineup, both offering more understated performances in their respective styles.
Minke, with only a guitar and a keyboardist, enchanted with her blend of electronica, pop and soul. Starting with hypnotic “Maybe 25,” the singer-songwriter’s impressive skills showed through several guitar breakdowns. She appeared most confident on “Gold Angel.” She sang passionately without diverting her gaze from fans.
Julie Mintz opened the night with an Americana flavor. This was her official album release show. On “You are the Reason,” Mintz and her backup singers showed off angelic harmonies and gorgeous melodies.
The biggest surprise of the night came when Mintz invited friend and collaborator Moby to the stage to play guitar on “The Sorrow Tree.” Moby was unassuming on stage, not wanting to distract from Mintz’s big night.
Follow writer Matthew Eaton at Twitter.com/MattnSoCal.