ROCK / Review: Mirror shades: Jasper Rees on Chris Isaak and his amazing performing suit at the Apollo

CHRIS Isaak has been touring Britain with two disco globes. One dangles where you'd expect it to, sending a thousand tacky points of light to all corners of the auditorium. The other, dismantled and reassembled, is a suit. At first, this looks like a smack on the wrist for those who dismiss the man as no more than a pastiche of a pop singer. You'd never catch Presley or Orbison, or any of the other all-American crooners of whom Isaak is apparently a composite, in one of those. And yet, as garments go, it was kind of fitting. What suit could more appropriately clothe a musician whose songs are a perfect likeness of other songs than one made out of mirrors?

It must have been hot under there, but Isaak still delivered something somewhere between cool and cold. As was evident from 'Wicked Game', the sinister hit that hitched his wagon to the film director David Lynch and made his name, this is music from an innocent age re-packaged for the knowing Nineties. Even the hysteria that greeted Isaak's arrival was strictly tongue-in-cheek. And when, after a languid opening, the singer flouted the Apollo's security by inviting everyone up front, the venue's heavies turned a blind eye, doubtless because it was all done not in earnest but in irony.

Issak's music is a vehicle that takes you where you want to go, so long as it's backwards. When he kicked off his first encore with 'Blue Hotel', all the other shades of blue that coloured an ancient decade sprang dreamily to mind, when Issak's spiritual fathers crooned of blue moons and suede shoes and velvet. He also did 'Blue Spanish Sky' and, borne on the wings of Johnny Reno's swooning saxophone, you were practically there. When he closed with 'Vada Con Dios', you could have sworn you had relocated to Acapulco.

He handled the timewarp with the help of hardly any covers - Neil Diamond's 'Solitary Man' was a booming exception. The reverse gear is partly in the cheekbones and the quiff, but mostly in the voice, a beautifully timbred instrument that grumbles and yelps and howls as if the 60s, 70s and 80s never happened. No one sings as seductively as that any more, especially not the Silvertones' drummer, with whom he briefly swapped places near the end. Isaak called for bedroom lighting during one sultry chanson d'amour, but he hardly needed it.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Thomas carried Lady Edith over the flames in her bedroom in Downton Abbey series five

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne, seated next to a picture of his missing wife Amy, played by Rosamund Pike

film
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene

Friends 20th anniversary
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham

books
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey

There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turning

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Chloe-Jasmine Whicello impressed the judges and the audience at Wembley Arena with a sultry performance
TVReview: Who'd have known Simon was such a Roger Rabbit fan?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams plays 'bad ass' Arya Stark in Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
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.

    Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

    Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

    ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
    Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

    Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

    Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
    'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

    The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

    Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
    BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

    BBC Television Centre

    A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
    Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

    My George!

    Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
    10 best rucksacks for backpackers

    Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

    Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
    Secret politics of the weekly shop

    The politics of the weekly shop

    New app reveals political leanings of food companies
    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
    Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

    Beware Wet Paint

    The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world