I saw the Noisettes playing at the Roundhouse last night.
There’s nothing like a little live music to rouse the soul.
I’ve been a fan for a while and, whilst the performance didn’t disappoint, it was the encore that shot electric currents through the audience. You can always tell a good roundhouse gig from the mood at Chalk Falk tube station. At half 11 last night, it was buzzing.
The Noisettes are a UK group that reached top 10 status last year with ‘Don’t Upset the Rhythm’, a song that didn’t quite get me rushing (metaphorically) to iTunes; but tuned my radar into the conversation. Always one for a powerful female singer and on the hunt for things a little bit different, it didn’t take long for my curiosity to be piqued, and the release of ‘Wild Young Hearts’ far surpassed my initial expectations–
‘Don’t upset the Rhythm’ is only one facet of the Noisettes’ eclectic style, and just touches on the incredible strength and range of Shingai Shoniwa’s voice. Combining rock and punk and soul and blues, the Noisettes mix passion with catchiness, and seem to span all my moods. They are one of the few acts that I can dance along to or enjoy from my sofa; can make me feel and can also bring a great big smile to my face -
Which was what they did last night.
While the main performance met my expectations (great vocals, strong set), and was punctuated by some unexpected delights (covers of The Killers and ‘Chain Reaction’); it was an encore performance of ‘Atticus’, followed by ‘Every Now and Then’, that tipped me from conscious enjoyment to full blown captivation, and made me remember just how powerful music could be –
We were mesmerised.
Darkening lights. A rich and melodic introduction to ‘Sometimes’ that crescendoed and then captivated the audience. The pulsing tension of the guitar. A tangible sense of expectation. And then, a performance that thrilled – and chilled – and electrified -
I am quite demanding. It takes a lot to make me forget myself. Throughout the main set, the connection was nearly – but not quite – there. In the encore, they had me. With an unexpected appearance on the balcony by Shoniwa, the mood was transformed and any distance between audience and performer, physically and emotionally bridged.
Whilst the spectacle – a solo track danced along railings – was captivating enough, the features that had made the performance fun (vocal gymnastics), and energetic (pulsing rhythms), and powerful (strong harmonies) were concentrated in Shoniwa’s voice –
and it went right through you.
By the time she’d returned to the stage, I was spellbound and completely under their control.
I imagine that this is the key to a good show. When you can whip the audience into a frenzy – or hold them captive, with bated breath; when they’re hanging on your every note – or carried along on a wave of pure adrenaline; when a single guitar chord can create a wave of enthusiasm that is impossible to resist –
And when the first thing they do when they get home is log onto iTunes to try and replicate the experience, which is exactly what I have just done.