Noisettes, Komedia, Brighton

4.00

Make way for pop's new leading lady

On the ubiquitous critics' lists of über-cool pop babes destined to hit the big time this year – see La Roux, Little Boots, Lady Gaga – one name was conspicuous by its absence. Where was Shingai Shoniwa, the ex-circus performer turned turbo-lunged singer of the Noisettes? Given that there's nothing like a bit of overblown hype to kill a career stone dead, this is probably to her and her band's advantage.

Yet Shoniwa is everything you could wish for in a front woman – seriously stylish, dazzlingly confident and armed with a voice that can veer from vulnerability to pulverising ferocity in the flutter of a false eyelash.

Shoniwa has thus far earned comparisons to the Yeah Yeah Yeah's singer Karen O, though tonight she seems to be summoning the spirits of Billie Holiday, Martha Reeves, Patti Smith and Beth Ditto.

Crucially, though, Shoniwa is her own woman, and her unique style and effortless charm means that had she come on stage, done a cartwheel and gone home, she would probably still have won our vote.

In the event she works a little harder for our approval. In the cramped confines of what is generally a comedy venue, Shoniwa is dressed for a night out at Studio 54 in aviator shades, canary-yellow jumpsuit and embroidered jacket with shoulder pads to rival those of a Yankee quarterback. The absence of a raised stage means that most of us can only see the top of her head – and that's only because she's thoughtfully piled her hair into a mussed-up beehive – yet she effortlessly holds our gaze.

It's worth noting that this is the Noisettes second stab at success. Two years ago they released their debut album What's The Time Mr Wolf? and landed support slots with Bloc Party and Muse, but their anarchic brand of punk-pop fell on deaf ears. On returning home, Shoniwa and co went back to the drawing board and have now re-emerged as a fully fledged pop act, their primary influences being soul, disco, funk and indie-pop.

Far from being a sell-out, this stylistic volte-face suits them perfectly, even if it leaves the scattering of metal-heads at tonight's show looking a tad confused. Tonight they open with the forthcoming single "Wild Young Heart", a jauntily melodic number that sets out their stall as practitioners of pristine pop.

This is followed by the infectious rockabilly-style "Don't Give Up", the electro-tinged "24 Hours" and the gloriously propulsive disco-funk of "Don't Upset the Rhythm". Elsewhere there's the furious tale of a cuckolded girlfriend on "Saturday Night" – "I light you up and smoke you down and watch your world come crashing down" – and "Scratch Your Name" ("Scratch your name into the fabric of this world before you go"), a rousing paean to mortality that, in wheeling in the heavy-duty guitars, proves that they haven't abandoned their hard-rocking roots.

Curiously for a rocker-turned- popstrel, it's when Shoniwa applies the brakes that she is at her most effective. The "Count of Monte Cristo" is a dreamy pared-down number in which she is simply backed by an acoustic guitar. The literary theme continues with "Atticus", a homage to the hero of To Kill A Mocking Bird, during which she instructs us to sit down on the floor so "that I can get a proper look at you".

With the crowd sat submissively at her feet, she strolls up and down, stroking a head here, holding a hand there, and cooing, "Can't you see how my heart yearns to misbehave."

At that point, if she'd told us to empty our wallets and hand over our house keys we'd have done that too. If nothing else, this girl sure knows how to work a room.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Emo rockers Fall Out Boy

music

Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey

film Sex scene trailer sees a shirtless Jamie Dornan turn up the heat

Arts and Entertainment

film

Arts and Entertainment
A sketch of Van Gogh has been discovered in the archives of Kunsthalle Bremen in Germany
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Eleanor Catton has hit back after being accused of 'treachery' for criticising the government.
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is heading to Norwich for Radio 1's Big Weekend

music
Arts and Entertainment
Beer as folk: Vincent Franklin and Cyril Nri (centre) in ‘Cucumber’
tvReview: This slice of gay life in Manchester has universal appeal
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
‘A Day at the Races’ still stands up well today
film
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tvAnd its producers have already announced a second season...
Arts and Entertainment
Kraftwerk performing at the Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery) museum in Berlin earlier this month
musicWhy a bunch of academics consider German electropoppers Kraftwerk worthy of their own symposium
Arts and Entertainment
Icelandic singer Bjork has been forced to release her album early after an online leak

music
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth as Harry Hart in Kingsman: The Secret Service

film
Arts and Entertainment
Brian Blessed as King Lear in the Guildford Shakespeare Company's performance of the play

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
In the picture: Anthony LaPaglia and Martin Freeman in 'The Eichmann Show'

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Kirkbride and Bill Roache as Deirdre and Ken Barlow in Coronation Street

tvThe actress has died aged 60
Arts and Entertainment
Marianne Jean-Baptiste defends Joe Miller in Broadchurch series two

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The frill of it all: Hattie Morahan in 'The Changeling'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny may reunite for The X Files

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
TV
News
A young woman punched a police officer after attending a gig by US rapper Snoop Dogg
people
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
    Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

    The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

    Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
    Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

    A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
    How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

    How books can defeat Isis

    Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
    The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

    The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

    The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
    Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

    Young carers to make dance debut

    What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
    Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

    Design Council's 70th anniversary

    Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
    Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

    Dame Harriet Walter interview

    The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

    Bill Granger's winter salads

    Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
    England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

    George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

    No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
    Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links