Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Weathering the Weather

The country is wracked with storms! Across the land coats are zipped right up to the top and hair-styling is rendered completely pointless. Abandoned umbrellas lie strewn across the pavements like ungainly stick insects. People talk animatedly about delays on public transport and irreparable damage to garden trellises. A sense of community prevails as we are brought together by hats whipped clean off in the street and pictures of huge waves in Cornwall. It makes us happy, and we chatter about it incessantly. We are inclined to blame The Storms for any minor irritation in life. Trouble sleeping? Might be the weather. Slight headache? Happens when it's cold out. Family of angry leopards circling your desk? I blame global warming.

The weekend with my sister was ace. On Saturday afternoon we hung around nonchalantly in trendy pubs in Camden, even though neither of us has an asymmetrical haircut or attend art school. Some of Impish Sophie's friends came down and we drank and chatted until it was time for us to go to the Roundhouse to see Roisin Murphy.

We queued up for some squashy plastic cups of wine before making our way into the auditorium. The Roundhouse space is cavernous, and it was packed full to bursting. Soph and I pushed our way through the bodies, vying for a spot near the front. Eventually we reached a point of impasse, hemmed in by a group of loud, extremely camp boys who starkly refused to let us push any further. They were jumping up and down, hugging each other a lot and generally being very annoying. We had, of course, spent the last five minutes annoying everyone else by elbowing our way through the crowd, but we chose to forget that and concentrate on being annoyed by them.

Roisin's Ruby Blue album is innovative and exciting. The production is interesting - electronic sounds mixed with live big band instrumentals, topped off by the weird and wonderful vocals of Roisin herself. To me it is an example of how good songwriting combined with forward-thinking production can result in something really exciting. Safe to say, my hopes were up.

I was, however, very disappointed by the live show. It was all such a banal set-up - DJ at the back, guitarist one on side and identi-kit backing vocalists on the other. The lighting was bright and peppered with moving shafts of neon which cut over those on stage in an attempt to be interesting. In the middle Roisin herself gave a performance without soul, and which was so clearly choreographed that it was embarrassing to watch. At one point she made a big deal of taking her suit jacket off, only to reveal a plain white top underneath. Sure, she was bra-less, but it was rather a pointless gesture and only served to confuse. Sophie and I stood, baffled, being jostled this way and that by the over-enthusiastic boys surrounding us. They seemed to have been enthused by something we could not see. Or had not taken.

Quickly we came to a decision. "This" Sophie shouted to me, over the vacuous cheering, "is really boring." It was. There was no soul to any of it. I felt like I had been sucked into an MTV video in the mid-nineties and could not get out. Except, of course, that we could. So we did.

Disappointing. It won't stop me listening to the album, or being interested in other work she does, but some people are just not that good on stage. A damning response, I know, but I feel strongly that people who get to be on stage have a responsibility to be good. Like Jill Scott, for example, whose gig at Shepherd's Bush was possibly the best I've ever seen.

Tonight I am going to the theatre, to see a production called I Hear Voices, which I am certain will be top-notch and super. It is their last London date and I am looking forward to it greatly.

This weekend my friend Chris is returning from New York and moving back to Brixton. Hurray! I am excited by the prospect of a re-Londonization weekend for him. I will have my work cut out for me if I am to de-NewYorkize him in just two days. I'd better not introduce him to Charlene, they might start to have an alarming amount in common, and that cheerleader outfit can be pretty chilly.

I am excited about tonight, and about the weekend! I can only hope that it isn't all ruined horribly by conversations about the weather.


Blogger Ys said...

hehe yeh the storms are to blame for everything, aren't they? ;)

sorry to hear the performance was so bad. i'm lucky: i haven't been disappointed by a singer/band's live performance yet.

3:02 pm

Blogger Boy said...

Argh, gutting about the old performance. It's a real shame when that happens, but it's so much more upsetting the other way around; I regularly discover bands that are AMAZING live, and then on record they just sound absolutely pants.

But at least you know what's good and bad, should help with your shows :)

4:14 pm

Blogger Curly said...

I initially blamed the angry leopards on the weather but it turns out someone had hidden a gazelle in the bottom drawer of my desk. I wasn't too happy about that particular stunt.

4:26 pm

Blogger Léonie said...

Ys - You are lucky! She wasn't very good, but it's probably not her fault. The weather was terrible, that can't've helped...

Boy - Yeah, exactly. It was just so dull and predictable - but when you're not expecting anything and it's amazing? That's brilliant.

Curly - Ah, the old gazelle in the bottom drawer trick. Classic. Sure, people sometimes get torn limb from limb, but you should see the looks on their faces!

4:38 pm

Blogger Clarissa said...

Can you blame the weather for the poor performance?

I've heard that (sucky live performances) about Van Morrison too.

7:33 pm


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