‘What is it with fairytales, men in those stories always want to leave, to fight dragons, to go on adventures. And when they get back, they get a princess.’ Axelle Red giggles. The Belgian redhead giggled a lot during her showcase in Amsterdam People’s Place. Been a long time since Fabienne Demal (Axelle’s real name) was in the Dutch capital, she herself thought she played the Paradiso in 1994. Yes, Axelle’s a mainstay, and it showed yesterday. Solid band, strong voice (yet she’s a fille sourire), self-assured performance and self-depricating jokes. And a body of work that contained hits like Sensualité, Le monde tourne mal and Rester femme – the latter was one of the highlights of the show. ‘French soul’ is the name of one her albums, and pouring her heart out over Muscle Shoals-styled music with hints of chanson is exactly what Axelle does. You can dance to it, you can listen (when she played two acoustic songs, Je t’attend being one), you can smile, you can get beguiled by her smile. Rouge ardent was the last song she played, the title track of her last album. She’s been making albums since 1993, and said yesterday a new one’s coming up. She’s not planning to leave, our redheaded princess.