Tonight the only show in town is La Roux. Not literally, of course. But in every other sense it’s hard to imagine a more exhilarating performance than that of Elly Jackson and her four piece band. Playing to only the second full house of their current tour, the other being London, the retro-heavy synth-pop maestros are on fire from the very start and the fact that this band have somehow slipped under the radar of the gig-going public is nothing short of a travesty. Tonight, a freezing cold Dublin is treated to a red hot display of savvy.
Opening with an absolute killer performance of ‘Let Me Down Gently’ from their second album, this year’s Trouble in Paradise, Jackson and co. are right on point and sound exquisite. The new Academy staging is ideal and the early 80s Top of the Pops aesthetic works perfectly as Jackson shimmies and struts around the stage. The band, neatly dressed and coiffured, are flawless and ‘Fascination’, from 2009’s La Roux allows Jackson to stretch her vocal chords as the melody vaults from high to low. ‘In For The Kill’ pops the crowd as you’d expect and it doesn’t fail to deliver but for the first time in perhaps… for ever, the real joy seems to come from the lesser known tracks; ‘Kiss And Tell’, ‘Sexotheque’ and ‘Cruel Sexuality’ being a case in point. The new songs, like the old songs, are slick and tight over the course of the set and Elly Jackson’s voice is utterly blemish free. It’s better than that, it’s stunning and her control over it leaves nothing to be desired. When she picks up her guitar for an gorgeously funky ‘Tropical Chancer’ there is a sense of awe at just how fucking cool this band are. Not even the goofy palm-tree shades handed up for the crowd can detract from Jackson’s stinging aura of chic.
At this point a special mention has to go to the devastatingly simple stage lighting, four narrow and high intensity spots all angling across Jackson’s face as she stands at the lip of the stage, become the focal point during an extended breakdown during ‘Silent Partner’ and the effect is chilling; her face glowing like some ethereal spirit. It’s not the night’s first phones in the air moment but chances are you’ll see this trick used again and again before the end of next year. And probably for a long time after that too, such was the execution.
‘Tigerlilly’ and ‘Bulletproof’ provide the encore to a blistering set and there is genuine emotion on Jackson’s face as she and the band take the applause. Having spent the night effortlessly driving the crowd into a frenzy and posing with an air of detachment, the moment when La Roux look sheepishly back at the an adoring congregation is veritably spine-tingling. Very few bands can surprise a crowd like this you can take it as given that this band will be back in Ireland before long. It can’t happen quickly enough.
La Roux photographed for State by Kieran Frost.