Seductive songbird Chrysta Bell is the muse of the Academy Award winning film director David Lynch, whom she has been collaborating with for many years. He also assisted in producing her album ‘This Train’, which has just been re-released. In the words of Lynch, “Chrysta Bell looks like a dream and Chrysta Bell sings like a dream. And the dream is coming true.”

I saw Chrysta Bell last year at The Ruby Lounge, where she played to a small gathering. Everyone was swept away with her dramatic persona and musical soundscapes. Now she is here at the Sacred Trinity Church, in Salford, which seems unusual but is the ideal venue for such a chanteuse as Chrysta Bell. There are, however, strange goings on even before she appears on stage, and between the splendour of the stained glass windows, the pews and the ornate features there is very graphic exhibition occurring creepily named ‘Encountering Corpses’, which is a selection of mortuary images and scenes of death in all its gory details. It is somewhat weird and fascinating. Added to this there are large bean bags laid out on the floor, which we are told we must sit down on by the vicar as he doesn’t want to restrict viewing. This could be a tad difficult if you’re photographing, but I’m game for it...for a while anyway.

It’s a long waiting game, and I’m somewhat numb from sitting on the floor. The support band are a catchy electro pop band with a singer called Juju. They are named after the Velvet Underground song ‘Candy Says’, and are from Oxford. It’s a welcome distraction, and they play some catchy little numbers, such as ‘Chad’ which they tell us that “it’s written about the singer of a relatively unknown band called Dark Furs” and the lead track from their forthcoming debut album ‘Not Kings’ which is a masterpiece.

Next up of course is Chrysta, who is dazzling in a silver sequinned top, red spandex leggings, and black leather jacket. She glides onto the small space, alongside images projected onto the backdrop of the stained glass windows and pauses for a moment to take it all in – a perfect model pose! She is statuesque and a stunning beauty. It is no wonder Lynch is captivated by her charms. At times you could hear a pin drop. It is deadly silent as she performs her beguiling and hypnotic music. It’s almost like a film soundtrack musically, and you are being taken on a journey and maybe an adventure with each individual track on ‘This Train’. She is not averse to communicating with the audience either, as she talks about how she owns a “natural graveyard back home in Texas” and appears very taken with the exhibition and the church. It’s dark, throbbing, moody, and dangerous. You half expect Lynch to walk onto the stage, and I find myself transported back to the TV series ‘Twin Peaks’ and its dreamy surreality.

In-between her fine guitar playing, she poses and seduces us in various artistic poses, which are a dream to capture on film, albeit despite a lack of light. Such a beauty deserves to be portrayed in the finest of lighting, but on this occasion it isn’t going to happen, much to my dismay. The band take a backseat, but are there providing the essential ingredients - a seductive haunting wave, which echoes around the walls. I am driven to stay for the entire show, not something I always do when I am photographing. What can I say? It is just too beautiful a performance and one I highly recommend. If you should be so lucky to have Chrysta Bell in your neighbourhood, I suggest you go and be transported to another world.

Photos by Melanie Smith

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