Little Boots acoustic, Sanderson Hotel, London

There's just one little problem
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The Independent Culture

Without being too disingenuous, it must be tough being Victoria Hesketh, aka Little Boots, one of the (hypocrite warning) fantastically overexposed twentysomething pop starlets injecting much-needed colour into Britain's pop scene. There's all that touring (or shuttle runs between a sweaty, cramped coach and her public), along with a sizeable chunk of promotional grind for a debut album released last month (Hands, which hit its chart ceiling at number five).

You'd think life is an increasing strain. Then there's this show: the opportunity to showcase any new material, as well as her ability to play a chord, something highly stylised pop products nowadays rarely get to do (her rival, the much more talented Frankmusik, could be classed as one, key, exception). Unfortunately for Hesketh, while the relatively upmarket setting vaunted the cool, clean lines of somewhere that bankers go to relax, her performance was a hastily pulled together mess. She was the first to admit it: she essentially began her performance with an apology. Presumably she was paid. Maybe she should say sorry to the people who forked out the cash?

Tapping on her trademark Tenori-on (or blippy beat generator) Hesketh ran through her single "New in Town", the Sugababes' first real hit "Overload" ("Train comes I don't know its destination" etc), Eva Cassidy's "Fields of Gold" (perfect lounge music really) finishing with another of her hits, "Stuck on Repeat".

Most of the beautiful people around her continued the kind of intimate chats where you clutch the other person's forearm (never really understood it), and dived into their cocktails; there was no sense that "Elvis has landed". Worryingly, in the course of this, a brief set with only a handful of songs, Hesketh still managed to hit bum notes much more often than she should have.

Without the discerning gaze of festival lighting operatives, Saturday supplement art directors, and (you'd have thought) anyone with any sense who could have talked her out of it, she just seemed very ordinary. Maybe she had a hangover.

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