Paloma Faith

Paloma Faith

More of a treat for the missus really this one, although I did witness her nuttier than a squirrel with extra nuts nuttiness at Sherwood Pines a couple of years back and was rather impressed. Also, this was my third seated gig of the year. And it’s only March. Am I getting old?

Date: March 24, 2015

Venue: Motorpoint Arena Nottingham

Paloma Faith is at her best when she’s being herself. An eccentric whose dress sense routinely resembles an explosion in a paint factory, and a woman whose childlike abandon doesn’t just end with her cute ickle-girl-lost voice but continues with her charming whimsy and her adorable silliness.

When she’s being serious, and politically serious as she has been of late, gone is that fun factor she so effortlessly brings.

So when we get Paloma’s Party Political Broadcast about six songs in, it’s incongruous, unnecessary, awkward and morose, and, had it gone over the five minutes we get, could well have ruined the vibe of the evening.

Cleverly, it’s followed by Just Be. Apt, as its main lyric is “Don’t say nothing”, which was basically the whole point of her manifesto – don’t waste your vote; speak up, have your say in the forthcoming elections.

Rant over, and back to the beginning.

As the curtain drops it reveals a pure white setting straight from a cruise ship, or IKEA, depending on your imagination.

As a brass section welcomes a sassy version of Sigma’s Changing, Paloma, dressed down in a non-retina damaging white and silver frock which almost camouflages her against her clinical backdrop, flirts with her band and gives off the air of a soul diva, which she’s nailed.

After 40 Minute Love Affair, Paloma engages with her audience for the first time, touching upon subjects including Gremlins (“best film eva”) and battling security policies.

“It’s fine if you stand up in groups of 10 or more. What chance have they got?”, she says, rallying against the venue’s security. And like sheep, the audience rise and shift their collective derrières to her groove-laden tunes.

On the afore-mentioned Just Be – political nonsense aside – her rich, honey-like vocals are highlighted. As she straddles a lonesome piano, there’s pathos in her politics at least.

On New York, she’s off, parading herself through the crowd as cameras flash and hands reach out for her. It’s followed by the stomping Picking Up The Pieces, which sees the whole crowd put skin on skin in a see of hand clappy zeal.

Earlier she proudly introduced her recently-acquired Brit Award, but for many, it’s this song which is the deserved winner.

Elsewhere Blood, Sweat and Tears sounds like a crossover between a bassy rave and a soul extravaganza, Trouble with my Baby allows her to have fun with her band and three backing singers while Stone Cold Sober is sonically uplifting.

In the encore – or after “hide and seek” as she jovially calls it – Only Love Can Hurt Like This is a waltzing tug of the heartstrings, Just Can’t Rely On You is a cowbell-heavy, strobe-lit belter while her cover of Ike and Tina Turner’s River Deep, Mountain High is a stunning encapsulation of her entertainment value.

This gig had no place for a political lecture. It ever so slightly deflated the mood. Thankfully, it didn’t totally defeat it.

Paloma is a well-rounded entertainer, but a spin doctor she ain’t.

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