Gig Review and Pictures: The Saturdays, Girls Can’t Catch & Sophie Ellis-Bexter @ iTunes Festival

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For those that don’t know, Fascination Records = POP!  That pure pop, that glamorous pop, that sometimes very painful pop which gets stuck in your head and you sing along to in the shower!  On Monday night, Fascination took over the iTunes festival for a celebration of girl powered pop music with a line-up that was not be scoffed at.  A night of musical heaven and hell was sure to follow… let’s find out

Sophie Ellis-Bexter

Experience.  It’s a very important thing.  It cannot be learned or bought, it’s acquired over time.  Experience counts for a lot and Ms. Ellis-Bexter has experience.  Two studio albums, countless singles and a career spanning over half a decade, her experience was clearly on display.  She played some of her famous songs (Groovejet, Murder on the Dancefloor) and a few of the newbies whilst strutting with permanent pout (Loving the lipstick) and in mile-high diamante (well I hope they were diamante and not diamond encrusted… recession darling!) heels.  How she managed to jump up and down in those things I will never know!  Her porcelain doll looks coupled with her steam muffled vocals made for a performance that melted you away.

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So to the next… Girls Can’t Catch

Then we moved onto the new kids on the block, Girls Can’t Catch.  These three chicks definitely look the real deal; part pop-princesses and part punk-queens.  However having the look isn’t always enough.  Yes, they strutted the right stuff.  Yes, they hit the right notes and synchronised their angst on cue.  However they never seemed really comfortable.  Playing without a band certainly did not help because it left the girls exposed.  There was no great drummer or lead guitarists to cover over the kinks.

Coming after Sophie’s assured, and simmering display this felt a little vacant, missing some energy.  That said, I did see great potential.  They sung an awesome acoustic track (the name I forget) which was majestic.  These three have the look, the attitude sold.  With  just a little work on the sound and a few more shows to become comfortable then really good things to come… definately a work in progress.

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Then… the main event… The Saturdays

This five piece were everything I expected them to be… and three things I didn’t.  The result… a surprisingly enjoyable set.

The things I expected; camped up glamour, strong vocals and a well polished layer of gleam.  CHECK.    What I didn’t expect was the amount of originality.  A thinned down version of my favourite song (yes, I have a favourite Saturdays song… WHAT???), Chasing Lights was a real treat and their cover of Pink’s So What had the crowd rocking.

I didn’t expect the seemingly laissez-faire approach to choreography at times.  This is by no means a criticism; it’s actually a massive compliment because it made the Saturdays seem less ‘fake’ and a little more ‘real’.  The final thing I did not expect was how infectious some of their records are when performed live.  Never in a million years did I expect to be singing along to Up (shoot I was even jumping).

On Monday night, The Saturdays provided some strong evidence to suggest that when done right, pop music can work.  Also that it can transcend its cheesy, camp and manufactured stereotypes and be very entertaining.

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Soulside Funk

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