Jack Cullen

REVIEW: Sky Ferreira Hits London

Performing at Soho's trendy Madame Jojos and East London's hipster hole XOYO? Sky Ferreira owns 2013...

And about time too. Having first surfaced three years ago, Sky was given an enviable load of online fuss but failed to stand up to the hype. Since then, she's gone bottle blonde, dug deeper into the mascara pot and managed to twist a few of the right knobs in those LA recording studios.

Metamorphosed into an impossibly sexy pop troll (she so needs a gemstone on her belly button) it seems Sky's finally got her shit together and has an album out this summer. Soon after that she's to be the new face of Yves Saint Laurent, and then come Christmas she'll have a sex tape out with James Franco and Justin Bieber's boyfriend "fingers-crossed". We spotted Michael Cragg at the XOYO show too, so there's bound to be some massive interview with her exploding onto your breakfast table this weekend.

While the blogosphere have likened Sky's new blonde locks to an 80s Madonna, thanks to those dark stubborn eyebrows, Sky’s actually fashioning herself as a rock chic right now. Joined on stage by a pubescent-looking support band, her set was a riff-heavy rock-out with lots of brash percussion, guitar worship, pleather, frowning and other Garbagian trimmings.

Weirdly though the jewel in Sky's songbook Everything Is Embarrassing isn't a rock song. Written in partnership with Dev Hynes (currently working on Solange's new stuff) and Ariel Rechtshaid (Major Lazer's henchman and the man behind No Doubt's Push And Shove), it's a deeply catchy pop ballad. The striking black and white video by Grant Singer rocks you into a trance if anything.

Still, as Sinead O'Connor knows, it's perfectly doable to shoot a high profile tear-jerker up the charts while still tearing up shit big time on stage.

Nor is Sky's second best song "Lost In My Bedroom" a rock anthem. It's a heavy-handed electro pop chant with sharply girlish lyrics. The seemingly low-budget video sees Sky kicking naked men out of bed, throwing dirty looks at kitchen partygoers and moseying around pointlessly in a pitch black swimming pool.

Performing live for the first time in London, it is these two hits Everything Is Embarrassing and Lost In My Bedroom that form the high-impact bookends of Sky’s show. Her new single You're Not The One is tested on the crowd as a centrepiece, and then the rest of the set was padded out with less memorable rock numbers. There were two ballads too many, with the English crowd politely spellbound during Bad Dream but chatting disinterestedly about after-parties and post-show Chicken Cottage plans throughout the duration of Ghost.

It's weird that Sky has these two popular and relatively young hits which are both electro ditties, and yet they fall to the gayside of the path she wants for herself. While her core fan base are ready to embrace a wannabe rock princess, Sky still lacks the on-stage confidence to be one. She doesn't banter well with the audience yet or poke fun at the boys, she clutches a suck-nozzle water bottle and beyond the occasional self-conscious horse kick there’s no rocketiquette.

There wasn't really enough long-lasting applause to justify an encore, but she trooped back on-stage anyway and hopes for a Cyndi Lauper cover were shattered as she performed yet another whiskey-swigging slowy.

Standing in front of vertical strip lights, the stage set-up was very Crystal Castles. Silhouetted and subdued it was hard to study the face that we’d all come to gape at. Unlike Alice Glass she didn't fight the darkness or reach out into her congregation. Instead she favoured skulking backwards and fiddling contemplatively with her amazing hair.

Born in ‘92 and a product of this century, the fashion industry and the internet, Sky could so easily monopolise the electro pop scene right now, become a demure, pouty synth star and take the throne that a generation has been keeping warm for her.

But alas, as fantastic as that would be, she's made it clear now she wants to be a proper rocker. And so just as Ke$ha turned her back on the glorious dirtypop days of Blah Blah Blah and Blow, we have to let Sky do her thing too and face the fact that she has no interest in being Mollie King on smack.

Sky has a strong fan base here in London and we were so excited to finally see her up close. She’s still young and regardless of our commiserations over the electro pop departure, with a bit of practice, a change of drink and a pair of knee-highs the future's looking bright for her. We can't wait for the album now.

And here are the key songs so far. Go on, have a mini Sky Ferreira disco al desko:




Follow Sky on Twitter @skyferreira

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