Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

La Roux – NME Awards Shows at Koko, London 03/02/15

05 February 2015, 16:44 | Written by Amelia Maher

“Who remembers 2009?”

Elly Jackson’s question reverberates throughout the room, and there’s a collective sense that time has slipped through our fingers as the descending synths of “In For The Kill” begin. It’s hard to believe that our first taste of La Roux and Jackson’s perfectly coiffed hair was six whole years ago, but it also feels as though La Roux has been around far longer than that as well. Can you even remember what a dancefloor without “In For The Kill” and “Bulletproof” even looked like?

It’s been a hard slog for La Roux over the years, what with the departure of former writing partner Ben Langmaid, followed by the long wait for the second album and Jackson’s growing frustration with her record label. However, the most important thing remains - the music is still as strong as ever. Through it all, the passage and assault of time has done nothing to dim the brilliance of her timeless synth pop tunes and in the live arena they simply take on a whole new level of power that makes you swoon, dance and fall in love with her all over again.

The special London performance marks the last live outing of the synth pop mastermind’s sophomore album as part of the NME Awards Shows (this year La Roux has been nominated for Best Solo Artist and Best Album of 2014 with the critically acclaimed Trouble In Paradise) and it becomes clear from the very beginning that everyone present is in for a real treat. Jackson takes centre stage as she slowly sings out the opening lines of “Lay Me Down Gently” in a sultry darkness, but it does not take long before the song emerges from its shimmering chrysalis and springs into life with that saxophone solo as flashes of light and colour burst across the stage creating a tropical backdrop that perfectly matches the feel of the evening.

As the set continues, the strength of the songs really hits you. There’s no room to catch your breath as “Quicksand” and “I’m Not Your Toy” knock you between the eyes, and then there’s the brilliant “Uptight Downtown” that ensures that the packed North London venue is alive and heaving with energy. The set plays with old favourites although it is heavily focused on Trouble In Paradise, with “Sexotheque” and “Silent Partner” proving to be particular favourites.

Jackson commands the stage with a stance that is at once impressive, as well as slightly intimidating, but also ensures that you can simply not take your eyes off of her. From her signature hair to the 80s trouser suit, she is an immaculate image of a perfectly honed sophisticated style. She’s not a talker - a confession she makes to the crowd whilst the roadie fixes some issues with equipment mid-way through the set - but this trait only works in her favour, and instead means the set stays focused and retains its intensity throughout.

It’s often hard to decipher whether we’ve been transported straight back into the 1980s at the height of the synth-pop heyday, or whether, in fact, we’ve all been whizzed way into the future to some futuristic, tropical dance club, and that is the true power of La Roux’s songs. They feel instantly fresh and contemporary whilst retaining an almost timeless quality about them in their deceptively simple construction and catchiness. It’s bright, colourful and simply great fun.

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