La Roux @ The Basement 23rd July 2014

The July edition of the Popjustice Deluxe monthly series saw a stellar line up announced consisting of La Roux, Bright Light Bright Light, Leah McFall and Melissa Steel. A few days before the line up was announced my sister mentioned to me do I like La Roux as she was considering booking tickets for her headline tour. So once this was announced I put my name on the guest list straight away. This was an event that was so in demand. The one problem I have about this is the fact they don’t cap off the guest list as it is basically first come first served. The Basement holds around 200 people and there is priority entry which is pointless really. According to my friends review of this evening 300 gig goers were turned away!!!

I arrived at the hotel around 5ish to find out that I was the first there. Just like last time I waited inside next to the entrance of the venue only to be told at 6 that the queue would be outside. It would be nice if there was some indication of where to queue when you arrived. When I went outside the queue was stretching around the block. At a guess I would say under 100 people were already there at that time. Thankfully my friend was there so I just joined her until the doors opened. Getting in was not a straight forward process as it took a good 40 or so minutes just to get inside. Everyone’s names were ticked off on a tablet and honestly it shouldn’t of taken that long to get in. I even joked about missing the opening act which I thought would be Leah McFall. It actually would have been easier if there were 2 people taking names one for normal guests and the other being for these priority people. Doing it this way would of speeded up things. Once inside the venue seemed packed out, only it wasn’t as there was plenty of space at the front. It would appear that people just wanted their free alcoholic slushie.

First up you had Melissa Steel who only sang 2 songs these being the Kove track she featured on Way We Are and her début single Kisses For Breakfast. Now Kisses For Breakfast oozed pop and it had a slight reggae feel. It can easily get you grooving. It is ashame that most of the audience weren’t appreciating the music being sung. It may have been very short but it was sweet enough to get me to check her out further. After a short changeover it was then onto Leah McFall. Now Leah finished as the runner up on the 2nd series of BBC’s reality show The Voice. She was the only reason I watched The Voice and I was flabbergasted that she lost out to Andrea Begley. The set which was performed was only 5 tunes and these were mainly originals plus one cover.

Now 25 year old Leah McFall comes all the way from Northern Ireland and I was extremely excited to witness her perform live. First up was a brand new cut called Weird To Wonderful. Now this was a soulful R&B cut which serves as the title track to the album Weird To Wonderful which will be released this coming October. Sporting a white monochrome outfit as well as platinum blonde locks this performance sent chills up my spine. The vocals were spot on and you could easily see that McFall put plenty of passion into it. “Hi. I haven’t done a gig this intimate in so long. My name’s Leah McFall. You might of saw me on a wee show called The Voice and I have a wee album that I’ve been working on all year with a wee mate of mine called Will I Am” McFall then said before Magic which sounds complete perfection and it gets me excited about the prospect of having the début album within my grasp. Other than having a guitarist Leah also had a beat boxer which made this 5 tune set stunning. As for Magic this was a funky R&B number that can easily get you grooving. Leah’s high pitched warblings were enough to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand on edge. “I’m going to do a wee cover for you. It’s on my YouTube” Leah said before diving into Justin Bieber’s As Long As You Love Me. I have to say McFall’s version was extraordinary plus the beat boxer worked wonders.

“Who’s idea was this outfit anyway? Oh yeah mine. I’m going to actually be 10lbs lighter by the end of this gig. This is the first song that Will and I ever wrote together” Leah said before joking about her brown fringe and how someone tweeted her saying it looked like McFall had wiped her arse with her fringe in the video for No Ordinary Love. This original offering served as the warm up song before the first proper single was released. This was a slushy down beat love song which was beautifully delivered. “You guys have been amazing. This track is called Home and it’s featuring Will I Am. He’s not here tonight sorry. So you’re gonna hear me rap. But I think the world needs a Northern Irish rap ” Leah said before diving straight into Home. Now I simply adore this and there was a Wizard Of Oz theme running throughout it. The lyrics were pure genius and the vocals were perfection. Leah McFall was Dorothy as she mentioned about messages in a bottle and then there was the line “Close my eyes/ Click my heels and I’m Home”. This upbeat tune ended what had been a brilliant set. It served as the perfect introduction to Leah’s very own originals and I relish the day till I see her again and I really hope there is an album launch gig on the cards.

SET LIST

Weird To Wonderful
Magic
As Long As You Love Me
No Ordinary Love
Home

After Bright Light Bright Light delivered the penultimate performance of the evening it was then time for Elly Jackson. La Roux is a synthpop act and the sophomore album Trouble In Paradise came out this week. Well I say it was an album but you could see it as an EP due to the fact only 9 tracks featured on it. What you had performed was 7 brand new cuts and tunes from the début album La Roux. Elly is one tremendous performer and even though I only knew only 3 songs before the show (In For The Kill, Bulletproof and I’m Not Your Toy) I immensely enjoyed this evening.

Comeback single Let Me Down Gently kicked things and this was a vibey power ballad that went down well with the audience. The Trouble In Paradise numbers that were showcased were Kiss And Not Tell, Cruel Sexuality, Sexotheque, Tropical Chancer, the lead single Uptight Downtown and Silent Partner. Out of those newies that were performed my favourites had to be the disco tinged Kiss And Not Tell and then there was Sexotheque which was a right cracker.

Sandwiched in between were old cuts and many I was hearing for the first time. You had the recognisable Quicksand and I’m Not Your Toy. Then you had the infectious In For The Kill and Bulletproof which oozed the synth pop vibe. The other 4 tunes from the debut which were performed included Fascination, Growing Pains, Colourless Colour and Tigerlily.

All in all this performance went down well with the audience. It was plain to see that everyone wanted to see La Roux due to the tightening at the front. This was one enjoyable evening and with the sophomore release only being a couple of days old plenty of people sang along to the infectious lyrics. The new album is incredible and it was a pleasure to hear these wondrous tracks and I see Trouble In Paradise being one of the soundtracks of the summer. Just witnessing a full La Roux set was amazing and the fact both new and old numbers were played was quite something. Elly Jackson is one talented performer but honestly I wouldn’t see her again. To see an artist again I have to dig the music with La Roux this was the first time I heard the majority of these songs. Don’t get me wrong based on the first time of hearing the tunes from Trouble In Paradise live I can easily say I want to own a copy of the LP.

SET LIST

Let Me Down Gently
Fascination
Kiss And Not Tell
Quicksand
Growing Pains
Cruel Sexuality
Sexotheque
I’m Not Your Toy
Tropical Chancer
Uptight Downtown
In For The Kill
Colourless Colour
Silent Partner
Tigerlily

ENCORE

Bulletproof

OVERALL: This was one enjoyable event and it was Leah McFall whom stole the show for me. The 4 originals has whetted my appetite for the debut album this October. What La Roux showcased was amazing but I cannot say I left being a massive fan. Yes Elly is fantastic live but I am not in any hurry to book for the next tour.

Finally I like these Popjustice events. I had a blast at the first one I attended but I can’t help but think that this one was poorly managed. Yes with the fact they pulled a big headliner was always going to result in high demand. But having one host juggling with people on the Popjustice guest list and people with priority entry made it around 50 minutes until we got inside. The fact there were 30ish people in front made this slowness quite a joke.

If I organised these events I would cap off the amount of people that could register (or close registration early) and have two queues one for normal guests and one for priority. This will then result in quicker entry plus there wont be as many people turned away.

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