I remember last year when The Noisettes were riding high. While watching T4, Miquita or Fearne Cotton was banging on about how they were “the best live band.” Me being a little more than cynical, and having seen some hot performances in my day, wanted to check them out first hand. The secret must have been out (I mean shoot, it was on T4) and I could never get a ticket… until now…
And on the evidence of last night’s little shindig the Noisettes showed they have skills, Shingai is a captivating leading lady, and the they are more than a decent band.
When Shingai walked on to the Kentish Town Forum stage covered in glitter and wearing a silver tutu dress shorter than words can describe (seriously, what would her mother think?) there seemed to be an aura of expectation. This was not initially met as the crowd (all seeing for free) seemed a little muted, tired after work maybe, and not in the mood to respond. It was not until the crowds of photographers were ushered away by security, Shingai kicked her shoes off… letting her shoulders lower a little, her walk turned into a prance, and the Noisettes came alive!
Shingai is a very eccentric front lady with that look of uncertainty, the one where you are never sure what she’s thinking or what she may do next an during Saturday Night there were Rolly Pollies, splits, jumps, you name it she did with pizzazz and oomph, like she was jousting with the music for supremacy; the Energizer Bunny on Duracell.
A totally unexpected cover of Pure Imagination was sheer joy and easily the best song of the night; light and fluffy and oozing personality. You could close your eyes and swear it was Gene Wilder singing it himself. Chain Reaction was nice too. Not all the covers were great however and they pretty much killed When We Were Young (sorry guys), making a great song feel forced and tired.
As expected their biggest songs hit the mark, Don’t Upset The Rhythm (which put me into a surreal world of branding though surely Mazda’s and Vodka shouldn’t mix) and Never Forget You, brought the sometimes dull crowd to life, and were full of fun and raw energy. Outside of these Shingai and the boys had to work their hardest to get even a sniffle out of the crowd at times.
The Noisettes are definitely worth seeing, however do not expect them to be “the best live band” you’ve ever seen. Last night was very hit and miss (in part due to an unresponsive crowd). Watching Shingai do her thing alone is worth any entrance fee (especially a free one) and you’ll definitely shake a foot or two.
Ps. The string quartet was a nice touch too!