Emmy The Great & Tim Wheeler, The Scala, London
Emma-Lee Moss and her Ash frontman beau get into the festive groove
Friday 21 December 2012
“Thanks for not going to see the Pogues,” Emma-Lee Moss says disarmingly, reminding us that this Yuletide has seen as much interest in the 25th anniversary of the much-loved number two hit ‘Fairytale Of New York’ as in the battle for this year’s seasonal top spot.
Such nostalgia might explain why she and boyfriend Tim Wheeler are performing from their own wintry album released last year to bigger audiences than in 2011.
Inspired while being snowed in that winter, the contemplative singer/songwriter who performs as Emmy and the lead singer of Northern Ireland’s effervescent pop-rock group Ash came up This Is Christmas, a collection of pastiches that amply demonstrate their affection for the genre.
Just as the nation loses interest in whoever won X Factor, attention moves to alternative tunes and in a crowded market, their ‘Zombie Christmas’ has shown the novelty single is far from dead.
On a stage liberally decorated with tinsel and fairy lights, matched by themed dress in the crowd (both Santas and undead), the pair aim for a party vibe, something swiftly achieved thanks to Wheeler’s buzz-pop guitar.
Perceptive fans of the Christmas genre, they exude a glow of warm comfort in familiar styles, especially the Phil Spectorish bubblegum of ‘Marshmallow World’ and the bruised girl-group pout of ‘(Don’t Call Me) Mrs Christmas’. This is a fine example of the wit they bring, though much detail gets lost as Moss struggles to be heard against Wheeler and the band.
Skating along his chiming notes, the urgency of ‘Zombie Christmas’ marks it out as something different to the usual seasonal turkeys. The couple also pay homage to some of the better exemplars of holidays past and while their jollity on ‘Last Christmas’ gives it the feel of luxury karaoke, a simple take on Elvis Presley’s ‘Blue Christmas’ is coolly effective. It is bettered only by a brilliantly sincere version of East 17’s ‘Stay Another Day’ that begins with the duo sharing a stool and ends with Moss in the audience.
“We hope the world doesn’t end tonight,” she sighs. “We want to come back next year.” Wheeler agrees, adding, “We’re trying to make this a Christmas tradition.” With a judicious mix of familiar sing-alongs, most exuberantly on ‘Fairytale’, leftfield rarities, among them The Ramones’ ‘Merry Christmas (I Don’t Wanna Fight Tonight)’, and their own wry contributions, this venture could outlast those garish jumpers.
There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turningTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Rihanna 'nude pictures' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
- 2 iOS 8 apps and features: eight iPhone settings you need to look at after you install the update
- 3 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 4 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 5 Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Downton Abbey fans outraged at Kindle sponsorship adverts
Cilla, episode 2, ITV, review: Sheridan Smith continues to shine as the young singer
Foo Fighters: Live 2015 tour dates announced for Sonic Highways
Kendrick Lamar announces new song 'i' following leak
Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned PR disaster
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God