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By Mary Chang
on Friday, 12th November 2010 at 2:00 pm
So far in my gigging life, I’ve never had to wait so long from the time of purchasing a ticket to actually seeing an act perform as I did for La Roux. I heard ‘Quicksand’ on Steve Lamacq’s show in the summer of 2008 and fell in love. So I was over the moon when I heard she was due to perform in Washington in February 2010. A snowstorm caused that show to be cancelled (her scheduled opening act, Yes Giantess, answered questions for us while they were stuck in DC, busy doing nothing). It got rescheduled for July, but a throat infection sidelined Elly Jackson from the July show and an appearance at Merriweather Post Pavilion at Lilith Fair.
So here we were, a full year after the tickets had gone on sale for the original show, waiting for a late show at the 9:30. Elly Jackson has taken a lot of heat for all the cancellations they’ve had this year, but I was not expecting her to give us a heartfelt apology: “I am so, so sorry. You [Washington] seem to be the target of the most cancellations…but the fourth time’s a charm!” Her admitting this in such a sincere way softened my impression of the gig in general (I won’t go into details here but several punters I encountered were downright rude and I am not eager to return to this place anytime soon.)
I had really wanted to see Yes Giantess open for La Roux but I guess there was a scheduling conflict, because the support was instead a New York duo called Francis and the Lights. I was very confused because when I listened to the song ‘It’ll Be Better’ on their MySpace, I thought, huh? Not a dance band. However, in the live setting, it was obvious they were chosen for the ’80s vibe and sensibility (sounding perfect, considering Jackson’s love of Heaven 17 and other synthesiser-led bands of the era). Lead singer and keyboardist Francis Farewell Starlite had a quiff like Morrissey‘s and was dressed vaguely like Adam Ant. (I say vaguely because he was posing like Adam Ant and I always associate highly stylised military jackets with him.)
Starlite introduced one number as “a song I wrote for Drake“. Did he mean Drake had commissioned him to write a song for him? Or this was a homage to the rapper? Not sure, but they have opened for the hip hop artist so maybe it was the former. They seemed to go down well with the crowd, but I wasn’t sure if this was helped by the fact that since it was so late (the opening band went on at 10:30, with La Roux to follow an hour later), most people there were already sloshed. Starlite also tried had some mad footwork moves, which made the girls squeal. Not my thing. I was very much anxious to see La Roux.
Continue reading Live Review: La Roux with Francis and the Lights at 9:30 Club, Washington DC – 10th November 2010
By Mary Chang
on Monday, 14th June 2010 at 6:00 pm
Being an American who loves British music acts, it’s funny to watch people go mental over ‘a new sensation’ when you yourself know they’ve been good for a long while before that moment. Last week La Roux made their first network American appearance on ABC morning programme Good Morning America. I’m very surprised – and happy – that there are a lot of older people in the audience, though this might be attributed to the fact that any kid who’s present obviously had to skive off school.
At the start of this clip, Elly Jackson is interviewed by George Stephanopoulos (former President Bill Clinton’s advisor back in the day and now political analyst) and anchor (presenter) Elizabeth Vargas. Something feels eminently wrong about a political pundit asking about a pop star for hair sculpting techniques…or maybe that’s just me. Afterwards the audience were treated to a performance of ‘Bulletproof’. Check it out below.
It’s almost exactly a year since I first caught La Roux, when they were headlining the Oxford O2 Academy 2 on the NME Radar tour. Tonight I caught La Roux playing the bigger Bristol branch of the O2 Academy, where she’s certainly grown the production up a bit.
Opening up was the pretty much amazing Ou Est Le Swimming Pool, and have long been TGTF favourites, from our first introduction last September to DJing at our first ever gig night in March via our top 10 bands to watch in 2010, so it was nice to finally catch a half hour set from the guys who were every bit as good as I’d hoped at warming up a Monday night crowd. From the slower “The Key” to the all-out dance marathon of “Dance The Way I Feel”, they more than deserve to be the next big thing.
Very soon after Ou Est had left the stage it was time for the main act, La Roux. Having postponed this date from November last year, Elly immediately apologised for the delay after opening with “Tigerlily”. Their songs had all the more resonance now the whole crowd knew all the words, though I must admit I wasn’t a massive fan of the Rolling Stones cover of “Under My Thumb” and Elly’s self-indulgent guitar moment on “(Finally My) Saviour”. However, aside from the mid-set slow down, Elly knew that she was there to do, and even if the quiff was slightly smaller than last time (perhaps due to record company issues if The Sun is to be believed… (though it is the Sun we’re talking about here…)) she was every bit the show-woman she was last time.
Joking how she loved watching the “Butch guys dancing around” during crowd favourite “Cover My Eyes”, it seemed that the Bristol crowd lapped up the fiery tongued starlet every little bit. Closing with smash hit “Bulletproof”, Elly grinned as she bounced around in a gold lamé jacket and everyone screamed back the words. Exactly what a pop gig should be. I overheard some people complaining that it “was too short”, but if we’re honest she played every track from her debut album and a cover – what more could she have done?
With a bigger production and a theatrical set, I can’t help but wonder where La Roux will go from here and what the new stuff will sound like – it’s going to be a hard act to follow their debut collection, but going on the basis of tonight I have every confidence in it being an absolute corker of an album.
After the jump: setlist
Continue reading Live Review: La Roux and Ou Est Le Swimming Pool at Bristol O2 Academy – Monday 10th May 2010
Even with many acts still to be revealed, the lineup for Scottish festival T in the Park is looking pretty impressive. From 9th to 11th July, 2010, thousands of punters will descend upon a disused airfield in Balado, Kinross-shire for a weekend of camping, shopping, carnival attractions and music across 7 stages.
Friday night see’s live favourite Muse headline the main stage, which will also be graced by Paloma Faith, Faithless and other artists yet to be announced. Rather disappointingly, the Radio 1/NME Stage will be headlined by American pop group Black Eyed Peas, who are, in this humble blogger’s opinion, an incredibly obnoxious band. They’ll be playing after TGTF favourites Florence and the Machine and The Temper Trap, as well as Jamie T. Another questionable choice is 3Oh!3 in King Tut’s Wah Wah Tent, though they’ll share the stage with great bands like Calvin Harris, Hot Chip, La Roux and Dirty Projectors. And finally, the Red Bull Bedroom Jam Futures Stage will see Echo and the Bunnymen and TGTF favourite Delphic on Friday.
It’s a toss-up between Saturday and Sunday for which day has the best lineup this year. Rapper Eminem will make his debut T in the Park appearance as Saturday’s Main Stage headliner, marking his first festival performance since 2001. The Main Stage will also see performances by Paolo Nutini, Stereophonics, Vampire Weekend and the Proclaimers. The Radio 1/NME Stage is pretty amazing on Saturday night, with a lineup including The Prodigy, The Courteeners and Wolfmother, and King Tut’s Wah Wah Tent is looking equally fantastic. It’ll see the likes of Mumford and Sons, Rodrigo y Gabriela, We Are Scientists and Kate Nash. Other notable artists like Julian Casablancas, Laura Marling and the Middle East will be gracing the Red Bull Bedroom Jam Futures Stage on Saturday.
Rockers Kasabian headline the Main Stage on Sunday, playing along with other massively popular artists like Jay-Z, Biffy Clyro, John Mayer and Dizzee Rascal. The Radio 1/NME Stage is looking good, too, with performances by Groove Armada, the Cribs, Babyshambles and Rise Against throughout the day. Some of the best up-and-coming bands of the festivals can be seen Sunday on the Red Bull Bedroom Jam Futures Stage, including Bombay Bicycle Club, the Drums, Yeasayer and Two Door Cinema Club.
The festival sold out within 90 minutes, so if you don’t already have tickets, I’m afraid you’re out of luck. Let us know what you think of the lineup!
Full lineup after the jump…
Continue reading Preview: T in the Park 2010
By Jess Grant
on Tuesday, 22nd December 2009 at 4:00 pm
So, the curtain has near closed on 2009. It’s snowing, Rage Against the Machine are number one and Simon Cowell is left weeping in a corner – alas, all is generally well this December. Now time to look back over the past year and pick out some of our favourite albums of 2009.
Arctic Monkeys – Humbug
Arctic Monkeys returned this 2009 with a whole new sound to their name. Produced by the demigod that is Josh Homme, Humbug showcased a darker, more sinister side to the previously happy-chappy Sheffield quartet. Still brimming with Turner’s brilliant lyricism, the music is a whole lot more creepy, a lot more obscure in nature, and alas a lot more challenging to listeners.
Graham Coxon (pictured top)– The Spinning Top
Not content with merely reuniting with fellow Blur band mates this 2009, lo fi punk Graham Coxon also released his seventh solo album titled The Spinning Top this year. The 15-tracked record narrates the life and death of a man, all via a dreamy acoustic soundscape. Switching his typical power chords to finger picking folk pleased and amazed certain fans, but undoubtedly scared many others off.
La Roux – La Roux
The Jedward-haired electro pop starlet, complete without a smile, had a fantastic success of a year with her digital 80s beats tainted with heartbreak and pain. She put synths and oversized cameos back on the map, gaining hoards of fans with her gameboy hits such as ‘Bulletproof’ and ‘In for the Kill’. Undoubtedly one of the girls of the year.
The Boxer Rebellion – Union
The Boxer Rebellion scored themselves a number one hit over the pond on America’s iTunes alternative chart with second album Union, beating the likes of Kings of Leon and Coldplay while they were at it. Not bad for a band whos drummer used to give me music lessons. The album is truly immense, exploding with beautifully crafted, hypnotically gracious indie tunes.
Kasabian – West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum
An exotic dalliance with 60s inspired psychedelia rightfully earned Kasabian a Mercury Music Prize nomination this 2009. From the stomping hit of ‘Fire’ to the trance-esque ‘Where Did All the Love Go?’, Kasabian at last confirmed themselves to be one of Britain’s biggest guitar bands this year.
The Horrors – Primary Colours
The Horrors lost the Elnett and gained immense critical acclaim in replace of it this 2009 with their brilliant second album Primary Colours. The Southend goth-punks drove their new record in a whole lot more serious of a direction, dropping the Dracula garage rock and instead reaching out for moody yet mature post-punk come new wave sound.
Mumford and Sons – Sigh No More
Mumford and Sons recently showed wannabe folk artists how it’s really done this October with their rich, homely bluegrass. Warming banjos, dobros and double basses have thrown this hearty thud of a folk album into best of lists across the board.
The Dead Weather – Horehound
The greatest super group to spawn from 2009 (prior to Them Crooked Vultures), The Dead Weather, as led by Jack White and Alison Mosshart, caused a stomping furore this year. Their debut album, Horehound, is a sticky 45 minutes of dirty fingernail rock and roll at it’s absolute attitude-filled best.
White Lies – To Lose My Life
White Lies are a thrilling little trio who take tips from the throbbing darkness of Echo and the Bunneymen and Talking Heads to name but a few. The epic debut from the London-based band featured immense, stadium-worthy hits ala ‘Death’ and ‘Farewell to the Fareground’ and was certainly one of my personal highlights of 2009.
By Mary Chang
on Monday, 26th October 2009 at 5:00 pm
The sweet electro sounds of La Roux will soon reverberate across sold-out venues in the UK next month. If you missed out on getting tickets for Elly Jackson’s shows next month, we have good news. These dates for La Roux were just announced for April and May 2010, with the tour ending at London’s 02 Academy Brixton.
Monday 26th April 2010 – Reading Hexagon
Wednesday 28th April 2010 – Brighton Concert Hall
Thursday 29th April 2010 – Cambridge Corn Exchange
Friday 30th April 2010 – Bournemouth 02 Academy
Sunday 2nd May 2010 – Glasgow O2 Academy
Monday 3rd May 2010 – Sheffield 02 Academy
Tuesday 4th May 2010 – Manchester Academy
Thursday 6th May 2010 – Cardiff University
Friday 7th May 2010 – London O2 Academy Brixton