Let me start by saying that I've never been a big fan of La Roux. But as I strive to open myself up to new music, (and to understand the hype surrounding new artists) I was hoping I could go along to their concert and be pleasantly surprised.
Instead I left feeling disappointed in not only the concert and La Roux, but also in the crowd who seemed to be enjoying it. Why? I don't get it. Maybe they were drunk. Maybe they were just going along with it cos they had paid over $40 for a tix. Maybe I'm a cynic.
Or maybe, just maybe, the concert just wasn't very good.
Visually - for someone who appears regularly in fashion pages and has been compared to Annie Lennox for her style, I was less than impressed with front woman Elly's costume. On top she wore a Sergeant Pepper's type red and gold buttoned jacket which was kind of cute. However faded high waisted black jeans just didn't cut it for me on the bottom. I felt for the lighting guy because she pretty much hid in the darkness hunched over for a lot of the set. The lights on the backdrop were actually great - lighting up in different colour ways then suddenly spelling out a massive LA ROUX across the stage.
Musically - I was so disappointed. I understand the increasing trend to have bands play to a backing track, but this was a little out of control. Her vocals sounded identical to the recordings. If someone wants to correct me go for it - but I don't know of any live pre-amps that can sound that good, and that tight with layered vocals and 1 live vocal track singing along at a low level. My friends around me didn't believe me at first when I was saying how much of it was off a backing until La Roux stopped singing mid verse, and then later mid chorus and the vocals kept coming at pretty much 95% of the original level. To top it off - towards the end of 'Bulletproof' the WHOLE track completely stopped and a tech guy ran on stage as she said "Does that mean we have to start at the beginning?". And yes, the lack of live instruments meant that they had to start right again at the beginning of the whole song! The only thing that is impressive about that is how such a hyped international act in these days can get away with calling that a live show.
I can't help but compare Elly to other ladies in the same kind of spotlight such as Roisin Murphy, Karen O, Santigold and even Beth Ditto, who always bring it as far as stage presence, costume, theatrics and general energy. So considering they changed the venue from the Gaelic to the Enmore as it was sold out, I just expected much more. With the incredible amount of instruments, samplers and live music programs available and the talented musicians on offer to play them, it is possible to perform that kind of heavy electronic music in a pretty much completely live set up. There are Australian acts that do (Infusion) and in fact, I saw Hot Chip kill it and do just that in the same venue at the start of this year.
The best thing about the LA Roux show was the very good looking boys in the band and La Roux's ability to keep her hair in that high quiff type thing till the end.
Congrats on the hair La Roux, shame about everything else.
I'll be heading down to CHING-A-LINGS next Sunday 4th October from 6ish to play some tunes whilst the BBQ and beer is flowing. The boys really know how to whip up a mean home made sausage or baked bean sandwich. And as this weather has been so brilliant, there is really no excuse.. come and join me for a cold one as the sun sets.
CHING-A-LINGS (133 Oxford Street Sydney)
SUNDAY 4th OCTOBER from 6pm - FREE
...at Oxford Art Factory 26.9.09
Def Wish Cast started off the night as support with a mighty push to the dance floor featuring a B Boy dance off. (Those guys are definitely underrated and I encourage anyone to go and see a show if you're up for some fun - http://www.myspace.com/defwishcast.)
By the time Arabian Prince hit the stage we were all ready to break loose - and we did. Unfortuntaly I didn't get a chance to take pictures of him as I was too busy dancing and going slightly nuts. His mixes were flawless to say the least, playing every classic old school hit you can imagine. He then topped it off by playing Crystal Waters "Gypsy Woman" - hearing that on a big system is a dream come true. Unfortunately some dodgy mexican food followed by heavy dance moves meant I spent post his set dying in the corner, but it was a night well worth the enchilada pain.
After Taxi club I was thankful for coffee + juice + creative energy to give me the strength for a gig Sunday night. Follow the links to the Oh Really webpage for some young creative inspiration sure to help you start your week nicely.