Macy Gray, Leicester Square Theatre, London
Friday 16 July 2010
Given she released her fifth album last month, it seems unfair to call Macy Gray a one-hit-wonder. Still, nothing she has produced has come close to breaking into the public consciousness the way "I Try" did when it was released back in 1999, and although she has kept on making music, it is not too much of a surprise that tonight this intimate venue is not completely full.
The crowd grows however during her support act, the London singer-songwriter Tinashé. Playing an acoustic guitar and accompanied by a rather enthusiastic drummer, his lively pop songs are full of energy, and he even has time to play a mbira – a traditional instrument from Zimbabwe, where he was born – on one particularly haunting song.
When Gray takes to the stage, the initial surprise is quite how tall and imposing figure she is. This may have something to do with her famously unique hair – her band begins the set wearing comedy afro wigs that are only marginally bigger.
Of course, it is that voice that remains her biggest weapon. It may not be technically perfect, but whether she is singing or just talking between songs, it still has the ability to make you feel as if you are in a smoky jazz club at 3am in the morning.
Equally effective on the livelier songs – such as the funky "Why Didn't You Call Me" – and the slower tracks, the one time it fails to stamp its mark is an ill-advised cover of Radiohead's "Creep", which is played far too straight.
The crowd loosen up once persuaded by the lively band to get out of their seats and start dancing, and they love the inevitable "I Try", which is extended and includes a small deviation into Bob Marley during the middle. It remains a great song, and although Gray may never top it, with that voice she has still got a lot to offer.
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 2 Christmas comes early to Hong Kong, as millions of bank notes spill out onto busy street
- 3 Antonio Martin shooting: Police and protesters clash over teenager's death just five miles from Ferguson, Missouri
- 4 Northern Lights above Britain: Stunning Aurora Borealis illuminates Northumberland sky on Christmas Eve
- 5 British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Christmas Day TV guide 2014: What to watch from Strictly Come Dancing to the story of Frozen
Best underrated Christmas movies: From Trading Places to While You Were Sleeping
Game of Thrones season five: First preview clip shows a beardy Tyrion, a moody Cersei and a distressed Arya
The Interview is finally released after Sony hack and terror threats – but reviews of North Korea satire are mixed
Christmas TV guide 2014: The best shows to watch from Doctor Who to Downton Abbey
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food