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Review: Paloma Faith at Camden's Roundhouse, London

A whirlwind of 50s influence, tongue-in-cheek remarks, and a killer voice to boot…

It’s not been a bad year for Paloma Faith, two top ten singles, and an album that’s been in the top five for 12 weeks now; we were more than looking forward to watching her perform earlier this week.

As the black drapes that covered the stage were removed, they revealed a pristine white set, as though we were attending a 1950s’ variety show with a very high budget. Firstly, the band entered the stage, and it was no low-key affair. A brass section, three backing vocalists, a pianist, guitars, drums, synths, bass guitars, double bass guitars… Like we said, it was far from low-key.

When Paloma graced the stage, she was wearing a black and white dress with a large amount of netting underneath, fitting perfectly into the evening’s 50s theme. It was immediately apparent that vocally, she was on top form, hitting all the right notes and, with the aid of her fantastic backing singers, treated us to perfect harmonies.

When she addressed the audience she had confidence and an acute sense of humour, coming across both highly likeable and engaging.

“I am possibly the greatest songwriter of my generation,” Paloma stated in jest, following comments from The Evening Standard that her show was filled with covers. That’s not to say there weren’t a fair few, with Paloma busting out her own interpretations of Van Morrison’s Crazy Love, Whitney Houston’s Million Dollar Bill, and Womack & Womack’s Teardrops.

We would’ve loved to hear her cover of the INXS hit Never Tear Us Apart, but Paloma explained her cover choices as the “songs that inspired her new album”, so we’ll let her off. Besides, the Whitney track really got everyone dancing.

When it came to her own hits she went all out, Only Love Can Hurt Like This stood out as one of the evenings greatest moments, Paloma belted out the song’s killer verse with a fiery passion. Her performance of Picking Up The Pieces saw the crowd jumping to the beat, while Just Be had the whole venue in almost complete silence as she delicately sang atop the piano.

By the final song, Can’t Rely On You, we didn’t want the night to end. Paloma obviously sensed this, as she kept the song going, getting the audience singing along as she continued to dance around the stage.

Paloma Faith demonstrated that even when she performs a few covers, she could still make the evening her own. One of the best, and yet underrated, live acts around, and a truly talented showgirl.

Paloma Faith’s latest album A Perfect Contradiction, is available on iTunes now.

Words Nick Verrell, @nickverrell

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