PJ Deluxe Edition
The Basement, The Edition, 23rd June 2014
Thanks to Popjustice two hundred lucky fans were given the opportunity to see one of the coolest bands of the 90’s, La Roux, in an intimate venue alongside upcoming artists Melissa Steel, Bright Light Bright Light and BBC The Voice runner up Leah McFall for free! With a line up this good, heading down early was vital! High demand, and a first come first served policy meant it was no surprise the venue were forced to turn away three hundred hopefuls.
Immediately killing the vibe on arrival the flustered host yelled “ do not move from the railings or you are not coming in” before proceeding to check names on her tablet. In the 50 minutes it took to get inside did she manage to squeeze a smile? No! Once inside, it was straight to the bar to find out if the free drink was available, after questioning the barman for more information about how to get a drinks token I left slightly agitated. Although La Roux is their biggest headliner to date the team did not give the welcoming first impression they usual adopt.
All things aside, when the music kicked off just after 8pm there was nothing sweeter than seeing the event run efficiently. Swift and very professional set changes and DJ Tom Aspaul on point throughout reminded me exactly why these monthly showcases are always a winner.
Melissa Steel was first to take to the mic, performing her Kove feature track Way We Are and her debut single which is out this Sunday (27th July) Kisses for Breakfast. Singing over a backing track and her ‘softly softly’ approach just didn’t grab the crowd’s attention but what did shine here was her potential and likability. Steel looks like a ready-to-go pop star with braids and ripped jeans – she’s got that sweet-teen swag down. Give her some time to get into her stride and Atlantic Records could have signed a buoyant R&B pop artist with a slice of Caribbean for an extra dunking of flavour.
Ok so we already have some pretty cool nicknames out there, ie The Lioness (Ella Eyre) , Queen Bee (Beyonce) to name a few but Leah McFall said on the show “I sing weird, dress like a grandpa and look like a furby” the name kind of stuck. Trying to pursue a career from a reality show once it’s ended was never going to be easy but Leah’s more than average vocals and determination have seen her gain more opportunity than most. Working closely with screen coach Will I Am, Leah’s debut single Home has predictable features and let’s not forget the only girl on the panel Jessie J giving her a platform this summer to open some shows for her.
Dressed in an unusual monochrome outfit, she brought light and shade to every performance! Utterly adorable she joked about her ‘poo-brown’fringe, now stripped to platinum blonde matching her ponytail before giving us a completely transformed cover of Justin Bieber’s As LongAs You Love Me. Banter on point, humble and full of energy Leah’s small teaser set left fans thirsty for more, and with a GAY performance this weekend to tie in with the release – get yourselves down there!
Bright Light Bright Light have not been on my radar but looks like I didn’t miss much when every song showcased seemed to be from the same fuse box! A little harsh when their latest album Life is Easy managed to creep into the top 40 via independent release, but reminding me of The Hoosiers it didn’t win me over. Although the album is full of optimism and moving on from past lovers which I am all for, there was no connection between the weak lyrics and the playful melodies. Lots of cymbal clashes and more entertainment from drummer who looked like the puppet from Ed Sheeran’s Sing video my attention was drawn to him. Bring a touch of life to his set once in their final song I think someone may need to change the bulb if he is going to wants to get the bright lights going!
Going in for the kill La Roux opened with her comeback track Lay Me Down Gently. Ella channelled a ‘Traffic Light’ outfit; red blouse, green tailored trousers and orange socks, which would certainly get those fashion magazines debating the green light. Stick her next to Gwen Stefani for effortless cool, Elly sure is no wannabe. Keen to showcases her new album Trouble in Paradise, which most of the set consisted off she still gave her fans from day one a slice of the old by ended on Bulletproof. Overall the crowd gave a La Roux a fantastic reception and with the album only being released two days prior it was amazing to see many of the crowd already knowing the lyrics.