A night of shiny, brilliant, naughty pop, live from London
I come to this gig on the recommendation of an old pal, and it’s both a long distance from the sort of gig I’d normally go to, and one of the best nights of pop I’ve seen in yonks. It’s rare (for me, anyway), to go to a show where three bands, all on the pop spectrum, are playing a venue about the size of my shoe.
Lola Coca opens up, and bloody hell – what an opener it is. Don’t let Lola’s sparkly dress fool you (awesome as it is), this is a full band of razor-sharp talents, not a singer with a backing band. The personality just explodes off the stage from the full outfit, and it’s bouncy, wide-eyed joy from the kickoff. Lola’s vocals veer hilariously between the sung and the spat, one second filling the room with song, the next delivering rapid bars like a stilletto to the guts. It’s not often I don’t find myself losing attention at some point in a set, but this one could have gone on all night and I couldn’t have torn myself away from it. I have friends divided on whether Lily Allen is any good – but if this is where that pop path ultimately takes us, to somewhere with equal amounts of glee, fury and dancefloor chops, it’s a happy place indeed – and everyone’s heads tonight nod furiously in agreement throughout. Bloody great stuff.
Jasper Wilde is one of those precocious kids you just want to hate. Insanely pretty, a voice like Timberlake, a songwriting handle on everything from Prince to Parliament, unafraid to use either a proper old-school tube vocoder *and* gets away with sequinned jeans… Christ, any one of those is enough to make you feel inadequate and horrible. On top of that, the uber-talented little bugger seems like a thoroughly cheery and pleasant bloke, who drops tune after tune of shoulder-shaking pop. Oh, did I mention he shreds on the guitar as well? I despise funk with almost every fibre of my being, and I *still* had a total blast at this show. Damn it. This kid’s something else, and no mistake.
Just when it couldn’t get any more glam, Whinnie Williams struts on stage. Drowning in fur and Dusty Springfield’s boots, with a band that includes a trumpet and an alarming number of turtlenecks and an awesome hat, this looks like a show that’s being beamed in from an Austin Powers fantasy. But while that voice – and yeah, it’s *A VOICE* – reminds us of the classics, this is bang up to date. It’s witty, it’s got soul, it’s got power coming out of its ears, but it’s sharp enough to take your skin off, with a wicked sense of humour running right the way through it. That trumpet ends up sounding like a synth at one point, and it’s quite a thing to behold.
Like I said – not a show I’d ever have normally gone to. But if anyone’s got any questions about where to look for up-to-the-second, razor-sharp pop, the answer was onstage tonight. Whew.
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