LIVE REVIEW >> Paloma Faith

Paloma Faith >> 02 Academy Leeds, Sunday, January 27, 2013

Not exactly an aficionado of the more mainstream pop end of the live circuit, I’m always mildly fascinated by who goes along to see the modern-day chart-topper. At the O2 in Leeds, last night, we had all sorts.

Family groups, people who wouldn’t stop talking, groups of women on a night out, people who wouldn’t shut up, couples young and old, people who have no idea when to keep their mouths shut… It was quite the mix.

I actually felt sorry for support act Josephine. While the front half of the 02 were giving her their full attention, the back-half (helped enormously by the appallingly low sound levels) just talked over her as if she was a busker outside The Light.

A pity, as, from what I could hear over the hubbub, she had some good songs. ‘Still’, I thought, ‘they’ll shut up when Paloma hits the stage…’ Sigh.

Paloma Faith at O2 Academy Leeds   Photo: Ed Fielding   Click for more pictures from the night

Paloma Faith at O2 Academy Leeds     Photo: Ed Fielding     Click for more pictures from the night

Unfortunately, Ms Faith favours the low-key entrance approach, and so it’s a few moments before the chattering classes have realised the person they’ve paid £20 to see is actually on stage. And they don’t stop, even when they realise the fun has started.

And it is fun – Paloma is a great performer, clearly at ease bantering with the crowd (happily listing off all the “posh” bits of Leeds she used to live in), she brings her songs to life with a sense of flair and drama I’ve not seen in a while.

Leaning heavily on the new album Fall To Grace, deviating only for a ‘best of’ trip to Do You Want The Truth Or Something Beautiful?, the music ebbs and flows beautifully as Paloma holds the audience in the palm of her hand. Well, most of them anyway.

Because certain sections of the sold out crowd just don’t shut up. At all. All night. Even when they recognize a hit single (interesting how they were singing along to the INXS version of Never Tear Us Apart…), they pause to cheer and then pick up where they left off.

Which I don’t get. You want to listen to some music while chatting with your mates? Cool. Stay at home and put the CD on. Or go to a pub with a jukebox. Or go to any pub. Just don’t be so sodding selfish that you ruin the night for everyone else. I’d rather people spent the night filming the whole thing on their phones than chatted endlessly and aimlessly while the band is on.

The only time they shut up was just after the “Shhhhhhh” line in Just Be – which shows they can do it if they try…

Overall, a great night and a great show by someone who already has a clear idea of what she’s trying to achieve. If only people would shut up and pay attention…

 KAHN JOHNSON

 

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