One of the crazy aspects of seeing so many shows is that you think you've seen everything, but in fact, there's always something different to discover. The night before this show, I had a rocking time with Imelda May. Then, I crossed the Atlantic on an overnight flight, got no sleep and then watched Paloma Faith just rock the house. She's this little powerhouse of theatrically, musically and funk-a-cality. There's no doubt that I think once she gains a little exposure here that she'll gain a lot of fans.
- Stone Cold Sober
- Smoke & Mirrors
- Broken Doll
- Romance Is Dead
- Do You Want The Truth Or Something Beautiful?
- My Legs Are Week
- Upside Down
- Love Ya
- Play On
- ENCORE: New York, New York/New York
Walking into Scala, everyone was handed a paper mask and a balloon on a stick. Yeah, it was going to be that type of show. Then on stage, you see a hundred large paper origami doves hanging from the ceiling. It set up the mood of the night, where you're going to see something extraordinary and beyond a traditional singer with a band concept.
Paloma as a live performer is as good as you would want in a singer. She seems to been born to be on the stage, always expressive and eager to put on a top notch performance. The unexpected aspect that I found is how humble and down-to-earth she is between songs. She might play a part while she's singing, but when she's not, she loves to crack jokes and banter with the crowd. She had these little chairs on stage, which I thought would be used for marionettes or something. In fact, it was used for her to stand on because she's a tiny little thing. It's the only way she can be seen over the crowd. She got up on the chair and said, "You all look lovely in my masks".
If you read anything on Paloma Faith, you'll be inundated with comparisons with that other singer who shall not be named. Musically, yeah I can see that. What Miss Paloma brings to the party in a bit more of her extrovert personality. As I mentioned before when I named dropped her in April is that she's spent time in the London cabaret scene and performing at the hip performance space Madame JoJo's. From that, she brings elaborate costumes and set dressings.
Musically, I find her more of a Tina Turner type -- a strong stage presence. When she came on stage after a musical build-up, she enters like a belle of the ball wearing a fancy gold dress. Then she tore into "Stone Cold Sober", strutting around on stage and whipping us all into a frenzy. It's a fun pop song with a hard funk thread going through it. Sly & The Family Stone would be proud. The song works as a fine introduction to her philosophy -- keep it lively, fun and interesting.
At the time show (Sept. 17th), the album, Do You Want The Truth Or Something Beautiful?, had not been released. Now, it's out in the UK on Epic and her latest single "New York" cracked the iTunes Top 10. It's great showstopping tune where she can belt out the choruses. It will be a while until she makes a visit to the U.S., but you know I'll be there when it happens. She too incredibility talented and fun not to be seen here.
A lot of fun shenanigans around the show. First, I had never been to Scala and it's a neat, classic-feeling venue. It's a block away from St. Pancras Station. Size-wise it holds a little under 800 I think. It's got several levels of risers in back and to the side so that adds to the site lines. The weird thing is that it has two levels of balconies, and one of them is enclosed with glass. Word of advice, be nice to the doorman, he looks like one of the guys who tried to stab Viggo Mortensen in the bath house in Eastern Promises.
Then, I got to meet Paloma at the afterparty. Free drinks + jetlag + no sleep = gooooood times. She's just a lovely, charming person with a strong British accent. I think we connected. Lastly, I stole some paper doves from the stage and dragged those things in my suitcase throughout my trip. Some people get set lists, guitar picks or even drum sticks. I like to go for set dressing.
Local vocal group The Langley Sisters took opening duties for the night. With a name like that and being friends with Paloma, you know that they'll have that 50s/60s swinging pop vibe. They reminded me a lot of The Ditty Bops. So three brunettes doing fun old-timey pop tunes, I see nothing wrong with that.