The tiny woman has set up her piano. The MC is searching the mixer for the volume slider that serves her vocal mic. He isn’t having much luck. Feedback puts grimaces on faces and fingers in ears. After a few false starts the woman is frustrated and announces, approximately, “I suck. I shouldn’t be up here.”
We, the audience, quickly activate our tacit purpose and refuse to let her leave the stage until we hear her sing. After more mic shuffling and another false start she darts off stage to retrieve her lyric sheets.
Back on stage some 7 unsuccessful minutes into her set, she becomes visibly determined. Her face is a warm red and I notice a birthmark above one eye and some scarring around her mouth. I can’t tell how old she is, or how young. Her hair is dyed a subdued purple-red. I wonder why I’ve just now noticed these features as she launches into her first successful effort.
Her piano playing is rudimentary but her voice is lively and strong – strident in a kind of righteous Cindy Lauper approach. Her lyrics are heartfelt and openly sexual at times. She banters with the audience about the meaning of the word Goosefraba, the title of her final song. The song is sensuous and playful. Her set comes to a close and her expression suggests she is miles away from where it opened.
In the drink line at the back of the café I learn that this is her second public performance. At the counter, I order a local lager and pay with the free drink token the MC gave me. The beer is good. I wonder whether the owner resents these free drink tokens.