“Well, I wasn’t expecting that,” was my first reaction as the five-part ensemble known as La Roux took their bows in front of an adoring audience. But that wasn’t the only surprising factor about Elly Jackson’s Belfast debut.
I should start by saying that I wasn’t overly enthusiastic about attending this Limelight gig, as the genre isn’t exactly to my taste. The Synthpop Eighties-vibe sparkled its way throughout the entire night – from the giant disco ball to the groovy tunes of the electric keyboard, it almost felt like we travelled back in time to an age of neon legwarmers and giant hairstyles. Outside of personal preference, it was definitely an enjoyable experience.
The energetic support act, Meanwhile, were an undoubtable highlight. The four-piece band took to the stage by jumping over the barriers, guitars in hand, and playing without any introduction. They immediately captured the audience’s reluctant attention with their pure passion and keyboard jamming dance moves. I mean it, these guys can dance. Original, innovative and clearly talented, I implore anyone and everyone to check out their debut EP The Element Yes on Soundcloud. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.
To a chorus of screaming fans, La Roux made her grand entrance in a spectacle of neon lights. Playing Let Me Down Gently from her new album, Trouble in Paradise, it was a wonder why she took such a long break from the music scene. With flawless vocals and a stunning band, each member of the group showcased their talent with grace and class. Despite not knowing the lyrics, or the songs to begin with, it was impossible not to absorb the atmosphere from the singing crowd and the creative gift of each individual musician. Unexpectedly, one of their most famous songs, In For the Kill was performed very close to the beginning of the setlist; just another example of how confident La Roux were in maintaining the interest of their audience. Elly Jackson, to my surprise, not only focussed on performing her recorded songs but also performed with great creative flair; guitar battles against her lead guitarist and a synth-drum accompaniment with her powerful drummer.
It was the sheer brilliance of mixing keyboard, guitar, drums, synthesisers and an admirable vocal range which kept me hooked throughout the entire night. La Roux’s comeback after a hiatus of five years should certainly make a positive impact on the music scene, and if you love your Synthpop with a slight Eighties theme, her live tour is a definite must-see. Just leave your neon leg warmers at home.