First night: Emotional stomp from a brattish princess

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The Independent Online
Alanis Morissette

Telewest Arena


ALANIS MORISSETTE has never exactly been the British music critics' artist of choice. The combination of sanitised grunge rock and her studied psycho-drama lyrics attracts little more than disdain from the press.

Despite - and possibly as a result of - the media's response, sells enough records to wipe out a sizeable chunk of the Third World debt. The appeal, it would seem, is exactly what the press so mistrust in her (and, somewhat ironically, love in the Manic Street Preachers) - that continuous need to wash her dirty psyche in public.

Morissette touches those self-obsessed, surface-deep emotions that tangle minds with apparent ease.

Her ability to take everyday experiences and apply daytime TV pop- psychology is not unusual. But as last night'sopening date on her UK tour occasionally showed, she does have a rare ability to transform such observations into addictive and insistent pop songs.

True, there's nothing clever about the music she makes. It comes from a long tradition of Rolling Stones and Sheryl Crow - and just like the emotions Morissette luxuriates in, her songs are immediately, naggingly familiar.

In the fullness of last night's show, however, Morissette's pop-rock touch was all too often lost amid a display of bombastic Led Zeppelin dynamics. On a stage decked out in tie-dyed Indian feather prints Morissette stomped like a deranged, brattish princess at an Indie club.

Yet there is no denying that she has a charismatic presence, which helps the songs to emerge from the quagmire of rock noise - a point made painfully clear when she takes up the harmonica and breaks into a slowed-down and spacious version of "Hand in My Pocket".