Noisettes, Electric Ballroom, London
Friday 17 December 2010
It's a gross injustice that the Noisettes' greatest exposure to the record-buying public is via a car commercial (Don't Upset the Rhythm), because if there is anything to be learned from this gig, it is that they are infinitely more than an ad man's go-to band.
Support comes in the form of a kitsch bingo session, but it's clear from the very first howl from guitarist Dan Smith that this is one band who don't need a warm-up. Heating the crowd to boiling point within the first few bars of storming disco number "Saturday Night", the Noisettes deliver song after song of high-octane indie pop. As assured a threesome as they may be on record, their live show belongs to frontwoman Shingai Shoniwa. Barefoot, be-tasselled and bedazzling, she leaps and shimmies around the stage, displaying a Grace Jones-esque talent for snarling theatrics and gravity-defying headgear alongside a flawless voice capable of rootsy growls, electro yelps and soulful balladry.
New tracks, notably the impressive "Love Power", sit comfortably alongside crowd favourites "Don't Upset the Rhythm" and "Wild Young Hearts", which are met with a healthy amount of pogoing and arm-waving from their fans, while a thumping dance version of the Buzzcocks classic "Ever Fallen in Love" tips a hat to their pop-punk past.
Shoniwa's electrifying performance somewhat overshadows her band mates, who nevertheless deliver gut-busting basslines and garage guitar riffs in an impressive backing. The encore brings a magical version of Nat King Cole's "The Christmas Song" plus the superb "Atticus", delivered, in part, while dangling backwards over a balcony. Finishing with the rockabilly stomper "Don't Give Up", Shoniwa thanks the crowd, gushing, "We love you all to bits". After this barnstorming masterclass in performance art, they can be assured that the feeling is mutual.
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