La Roux performs Nov 2 at Hard Rock Live
On April 18, the stage was set and the crowd was pumped for British electro-pop duo La Roux. While it was late on a Sunday night, Vancouver’ Commodore Ballroom and the Granville Street entertainment district below felt more like a bustling Friday night rather than an end to the weekend.
Local talent Piper Davis opened the sold-out show. Davis is one of those little gems in music. She hasn’t quite hit it big yet, but she has talent to boot. With an eclectic mix of indie, electro and blues influences, Davis’ vocals float ethereally over hollow, pounding drums. She sang a few of her popular MySpace hits including “The Last Time” and “New Machine.” The crowd generally seemed to enjoy her music – not bad for someone who hasn’t even recorded their debut album yet. My only complaint was that while Davis sounded great and I thoroughly enjoyed her sound, she wasn’t very exciting to watch as she stood in the same spot the entire time, only making hand gestures and playing with her necklace.
After a brief break, La Roux hit the stage. Lead singer Elly Jackson was accompanied by synth player Ben Langmaid and two other instrumentalists. She took the stage with “Tigerlily” and the crowd went wild. Their upbeat electro pop is so infectious that even if you didn’t know the songs, you’d be bopping up and down and dancing up a storm as if it were you favorite. Elly looked striking with her slicked up ginger pompadour, drainpipes and structured blazer. She strutted up and down the stage, commanding the attention of everyone in the room. After a brief introduction and minor technical glitch, La Roux launched into “Saviour,” a bonus track on the European release of their self-titled 2009 album, and then crowd-pleaser “I’m Not Your Toy.”
Next up was hot single “Quicksand,” and not-as-popular “As If By Magic.” With only one album’s worth of material to perform, La Roux blasted out an awesome cover of the Rolling Stones‘ “Under My Thumb.” The song sounded quite different – much lighter – but still with the same well-known melody.
La Roux did little talking and basically moved from one song into the next, which was the right move for the rowdy crowd, who was mainly there to dance. After a little bit of Stones, they turned back to their own material and powered through “Cover My Eyes,” “Growing Pains,” which is a bonus track on the U.K. and Japanese version of their album, and “Colourless Colour.”
By the time they were ready to knock “In For the Kill” out of the park, the anticipation in the crowd was almost palatable. Elly let the crowd do most of the singing during the chorus, but her own vocals stood out and sounded great during the higher-pitched verses. La Roux closed their set with “Fascination” before coming back on for the unmistakable hit “Bulletproof” during the encore.
Overall, La Roux’s show was short and sweet. With limited songs to play, Elly and her band kept up the pace and had the crowd moving the entire time. I was very happily surprised with Elly’s vocals, as her songs are mostly in head voice, which doesn’t always translate well in live performances. As well, the band kept it together and was spot on, making for an awesome performance.
Photos by David Thai
See the rest of the photos at www.mrdavidthai.com