“Seven albums,” proclaimed Lady Jane during her introduction for the Sugababes, “14 million sales worldwide” she continued as she tried to amp the crowd before v4.0 emerged. The latest edition still have a lot to prove and last night’s show was an opportunity for Jade to cement her membership and the group to show they have moved on from the ghosts of Sugababes past.
It all started fairly lively with Freak Like Me, the band giving it more verve and feistiness. Further ‘angst’ added through their costume resembling something out a slasher movie and all a bit scary; pure white boiler suit with faces covered by dark masks… spooky.
When playing the classics they were at their best, Push The Button, was meatier with lead guitars subtly adding flavour (never knew I liked the song), Girls was fun and About You Now will probably be the band’s signature record regardless of the line-up.
However, the newer records are cause for debate, while About a Girl was passable live (the band really saving it), Let’s Get Sexy was less so. Their next single, Crash and Burn, was a rather good mid-tempo ballad oozing of days gone by and has the potential to break the run of shamelessly sub- standard releases which tried too hard to be commercial.
The small venue also helped as the girls to bring their personality into play; cheekily flirting with the guys in the front row, and then post show pausing to take photos, sign autographs and talk to their fans. A really nice touch for a band with every right to be ‘diva-ish’ they seem very grounded.
There was a very poignant moment mid-set before they sung Too Lost In You, when Jade confessed it was her and Amelle’s favourite song before joining the group. It does raise the question, will this incarnation of the group ever have a record that good to call their own?
The Sugababes are a group in transition. It’s not only Jade, don’t forget Keisha sung more than her fair share of lead vocals so Amelle and Heide too are learning a new role as previously familiar songs need to be re-learnt and rearranged.
Last night’s show did answer some of the criticisms and was better than I was expecting. The problem is the new music lets them down and that represents their future (not the 6 albums and 14m sales prior). I am 100% certain Heide, Amelle and Jade will not be happy being ‘Karaoke Queens’ for the rest of their careers, and for that reason the jury is still in deliberation over Sugababes 4.0