Live Review of Forest Claudette in Los Angeles

Gold Diggers  Los Angeles, CA

Contact: [email protected]

Web: instagram.com/forestclaudette

Players: Forest Claudette, vocals, guitar

Material: “If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, then I must be from Jupiter,” Australian-born alt-R&B singer Forest Claudette said from the intimate Gold Diggers stage early in their set, before forging ahead with a collection of songs that enthralled and devastated in equal measure.

Claudette takes us on a journey through their musical journal entries, including explorations of their gender identity and sexuality. We see the joy and the agony of those experiences etched on their face as they relive them through song, and the results are emotionally draining yet rewarding. Songs such as “Only Human” and “Creaming Soda” (the latter about imposter syndrome) allow the listener to look through Claudette’s eyes for a moment, even if we can’t walk in their shoes.

Musicianship: Much of the set sees Claudette perform to a track, though there are a few occasions when they pick up their guitar, and then things really do get interesting. Claudette is a skilled and expressive player, soulful but well capable of crunch. The obvious guitar comparisons are H.E.R. and even Prince, though there are little dabs of Slash-esque rock there. But it’s less about the flourishes and more about how the guitar, and the track, aids each song. In that sense, Claudette succeeds massively. They know exactly how to pull at our heartstrings while simultaneously making us dance.

Performance: It’s practically impossible to tear your eyes away from Claudette when they’re in full performance mode. Besides the fact that they’re an able host, bursting with swagger and sweet charm, Claudette covers every inch of the (admittedly quite small) Gold Diggers stage like they were born for this. Which they very likely were. On the song “Violence,” which is about the black experience, Claudette essentially gasps the line “I can’t breathe,” reminding those who need reminding of some vital issues that this country still has to face. It’s not simply about singing the songs or, for us, listening to them, but truly experiencing them.

Summary: According to their press release, Claudette uses music to explore, “the asteroids and stones we encounter en route to our own outer space oasis.” That’s how we come full circle back to the idea of going on a journey with Claudette. They create art, something that genuinely makes the listener feel. Sometimes it’s painful, sometimes it’s joyful. Sometimes it’s ugly, sometimes it’s beautiful. The link is that it always feel important.