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Paloma Faith Live at Vicar Street, Dublin
The Hackney lass croons effortlessly and assuredly from the get-go.
Celina Murphy, 07 Apr 2010
For several very good reasons, I never cared much for Paloma Faith. On record, her raspy vintage soul always left me totally cold, if not a little frustrated that such a potentially great voice had been put to such lukewarm use. Still, home girl’s got her own font, so she must be doing something right.
Tonight Ms. Faith makes her entry by bounding fearlessly onto a frankly astounding set – complete with harlequin stairs and glimmering props, it’s easily the most impressive I’ve seen on the Vicar Street stage. To my indignation, the Hackney lass croons effortlessly and assuredly from the get-go, jaunting about in a yellow cat suit and fruit basket turban, rather like a sequin-dipped Carmen Miranda.
Band and backing singers are equally flawlessly attired – her guitarist, who later thrills us with spirited guitar interludes while Paloma changes, looks the picture of a 1979 Michael Jackson.
Indeed, much of the set is spent songchecking Faith’s own idols: Billie Holiday’s ‘God Bless The Child’ sounds divine with just Paloma and a piano, while Etta James’ ‘At Last’, a shameless crowd-pleaser, works well because of the supremely talented collective of musicians behind her.
In a particularly good move, Faith plums for the Widower remix of single ‘Do You Want The Truth Or Something Beautiful’. Delightfully ‘70s-tinged and altogether more dramatic, it sounds ten times better than the humdrum album version, and the souped-up radio hits ‘Sober’ and ‘New York’ get much love from an adoring crowd.
A few tunes down the line and another costume change in the bag, our hostess emerges from behind a 15-foot mirrored room divider, and peers out from under an almighty umbrella of a hat, looking very much like an extra from My Fair Lady. “Some people say young people don’t like jazz…” she begins, neglecting to notice the number of bald heads in the audience. She goes on to rave about the Irish sense of humour. “You don’t think I’m mad here, you just think I’m funny!” Actually, she’s both.