La Roux at Koko, London (Gig Review)
There was a time when La Roux was threatening to become a bit of a commercial music success story. In For The Kill was an amazing hit. The track stormed the charts and filled the floors in mainstream clubs as well as serious dance venues, courtesy of some great remixes. Well that was way back in 2009. Scary.
La Roux were as well known for the trademark hair sported by singer Elly Jackson with many assuming La Roux was Elly, as they were for there retro inspired synth-based pop tracks. The tracks with nods to eighties greats such as Heaven 17 and the Eurythmics were all lifted by Elly’s stunning falsetto voice. With a vocal weaker than Elly’s maybe the tracks wouldn’t have really stood out.
All of that was an age ago in music terms, a generation has passed. The 80’s semi-revival has passed away and so in theory has La Roux’s place. Or has it? We went to Koko for the second time this week to find out if La Roux were stuck as a short-lived piece of pop memorabilia or if they can become musical chameleons and adapt their style.
Well, in short, La Roux still have hints to their synth/electro past, but they have attempted to evolve. They now demonstrate leanings towards a bit more mainstream, but not resulted to changing their style to appear current. You could argue this is to their credit, they want to stay true to what they are. Which is great for them in musical terms but in my opinion could hamper any real commercial success (if that is their aim).
That being said, you could argue, what do you know? La Roux are performing at the series of NME Awards shows in London, so one mainstream publication feels they are current. Anyway, enough of this preamble, what about the gig.
Elly Jackson gave it all. Dressed in a mature and sophisticated outfit and sporting the amazing trademark quiff that led to their name (how much wax or gum was used on that), Elly Jackson was on fire in terms of vocal ability. She shows no signs of quivering or deterioration that can often happen to such great voices. She was ably supported by her band (not meant to be derogatory). They delivered a clean repertoire of electro pop with a bit of added funk. So the style had slightly moved on, but still harked back to the good old days.
Sadly thought, the set felt a bit dated and removing the admiration for Elly’s vocal, felt a bit flat. There were more misses than hits. The cover of Shame, Shame, Shame didn’t really connect with the crowd, it only helped to showcase Elly’s talent. Maybe the crowd were too old to cut the shapes on the dance floor? Tropical Chancer and Kiss and Not Tell were also misses.
Sadly for La Roux, it was all about In For The Kill which sent the crowd in to relative hysterics. It was a long time to wait for one track!