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La Roux review – synth star throws a joyously sleazy blowout | Music


Whether it’s the spikier 80s synths of her 2009 breakthrough hits or the breezy disco stylings of her wonderful second album, 2014’s Trouble in Paradise, La Roux has the kind of back catalogue that can inject even the most lifeless dancefloor with a touch of euphoria. Hence why, in theory, Elly Jackson playing the legendary club Fabric seems like a foolproof match.

The place has been kitted out to fit her aesthetic – there are waves, palm trees and even a neon flamingo on stage. The colours change throughout in a way that’s fun and softly sleazy – Jackson announces that the stage is her “Sexotheque” after playing the tropical shuffle of a song by that name. But from opener Uptight Downtown, the venue feels surprisingly unwieldy for a live band set-up – downstairs, the sound desk mounted in the middle of the crowd means that many in the audience can’t really see, and for a club so famous for its sound system, the sound is overly bass-heavy, while Jackson’s words are unclear.

Fortunately, none of this is too distracting because the performance itself is extremely polished – all intricate ripples of percussion and jaunty guitars reminiscent of Bowie at his most joyful, coupled with the unfaltering falsetto that has always set Jackson apart from the pack. She struts and shimmies with mesmerising confidence, occasionally wielding a guitar or grinning as she offers a hand to the joyous crowd.

New tracks such as the siren-like glam pop number International Woman of Leisure and the luxe, loungey Do You Feel sound strong, though there’s a prevailing sense that the crowd is waiting for her to play the greatest hits that she now hates. Still, she laughs as she admits that leaving them out wouldn’t be very audience-friendly, and offers a welcome compromise in a remixed version of Bulletproof that mainlines Chic’s deliciously freeing energy. Someone yells for early track Tigerlily, but she declines. Though the venue is something of an obstacle, Jackson remains very much in control of her slick party.

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