La Roux: Live at Cafe Du Nord


There is no doubt La Roux plans to go in for the kill when she performs, but on Wednesday night at Café Du Nord she left the stage taking the hearts of just a few fans. With a brief set lasting only forty minutes long, the fans only got a taste. It was a “wam-bam-thank-you-mam” performance that while enjoyable in its brevity, appeared to be routine. The twenty year old star’s voice is impeccably strong, but as she embarks on her first US tour, she appears already out of gas.

Her music is piping with energy as techno-pop keys fizz over her glamorous voice. It was therefore surprising to see her perform stiffly; occasionally, tapping her feet as she remained stoic grasping the microphone for most of her set. Undoubtedly, during her performance of the UK top of the chart singles “Bulletproof,” and “In for the Kill,” the audience danced unfazed by her lack of stage presence. After extensive touring in the UK, it’s would not be surprising if she has grown tired of singing the same nine songs. While it’d be nice if she seemed more involved, if her current nine tracks are any indicator, La Roux has a promising career ahead.

The edgy, and gruff “Tigerlily,” was the first song of the night. Unlike “Bulletproof,” or “In for the Kill,” the vocals are more aggressive and less melodic, which makes for one of the darker songs on the album. She followed with “Quicksand,” a Prince sounding song about obsession, as she falls deeper into love while singing, “You’re the up setter / Stroking my hand / What’s my position? / I don’t understand.” At the end of the set La Roux played the bubbly melodic “Bulletproof,” which recently reached No. 1 on the UK Singles Charts, which was by far highlight of the night.

Sporting her firehouse red quiff, an illuminated gold sequined blazer with matching shoes, Elly Jackson has the image and talent to become an international star. La Roux is a contemporary clone of the Eurythmics. Like the Eurythmics, La Roux is mistaken as a solo project, when in reality the band is a duo of singer Elly Jackson and producer Benjamin Langmaid. Though Langmaid’s production with its heavy synthesizer and computerized effects is on surface easily comparable, there is also the comparison of both Annie Lenox and Elly Jackson androgynous image. Now the question is whether La Roux’s music will have as lasting a memory as the Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams.”

It’s clear that Elly Jackson has to work on her stage presence, which she has admitted isn’t a 100%. The young singer seems to be awkwardly maturing on stage. As one fan yelled, “We love you La Roux,” she confidently responded, “It’s all for the attention, you don’t like me. I’m not your type.” While she might be an awkward, her voice is unaffected. With only two keyboards and a drum machine, her vocals hold together the rhythm and energy of the performance.

Though Café Du Nord declared the show sold out days before the performance, the small venue was anything but. It’s not surprising, as La Roux hasn’t even released her debut album in the states. Once her album is released, you can expect to see her headlining bigger venues. So prepare yourself for the 80s disco revival, and get familiar with the name, La Roux, you’ll be dancing to her tunes sooner than you know.

- David Johnson-Igra

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