by / March 22nd, 2010 /

Paloma Faith – Vicar St, Dublin

Miss Faith certainly knows how to put on a show. Vicar Street has been transformed into a cabaret wonderland for one night of soulful pop. Faith sashays onstage, all Carmen Miranda, fruit bowl on head, sparkly banana-coloured catsuit and impossibly high heeled, to sing the theatrical -Smoke&Mirrors’.

Following up with her debut single, the retro-pop -Stone Cold Sober’, it’s easy to ignore the obvious influences in the music and simply just enjoy the show. Faith combines her passionate performance with an absolutely endearing personality. She chats easily with the crowd, claiming to like the Irish as they find her ‘funny not mad’, stroking our collective ego by telling us we have the best sense of humour in the world. Oh you.

She then asks for a guy who thinks he’s romantic and selects a hyper young -un from the sea of hands. The excitable Dean perches on a stool while Faith offers him some advice. That word of advice is the luscious -Romance is Dead’ – her antithesis to a love song. There is something impossibly sweet about the two of them singing and swaying along together.

Afterwards she nips behind her huge mirrored set for a musical interlude and returns no longer looking like a human banana but instead as monochrome tribute to Audrey Hepburn. Our little Londoner showgirl certainly likes her headpieces and this time is adored with a spaceship-sized disc of black and white. Faith announces homage to her beloved Billie Holiday – the achingly slow -My Legs Are Weak’, perching on the piano to give it a little more soul. It’s all very much part of a genre but she makes it so deliciously inviting – dedicating a version of The Beatles -You Never Give Me Your Money’ to her Mum as a belated Mother’s Day gift.

At times throughout the show, the sound seems a touch distorted from being a bit too loud – like a set of cheap speakers struggling to cope with her tremendous voice. Comparisons to the bland Duffy are a little unfair – in so much that Faith has a spark and fire about her that the Welsh singer lacks – but it is reasonable to assert that she is a classier Amy Winehouse.

Her ode to the city of New York sends shivers up the spine – a definite standout among her collection. The adorable songstress assures the assembled crowd that she is ready to greet anyone who wishes to visit her at the merchandise stand post-show. It’s hard not to love a performer who takes such pride in her work and in her fans. Finishing with the dramatic -Play On’, the quintessentially quirky Faith only further reinforces her love for the dramatic – introducing her backing band and singers – before howling the final strains of the song and collapsing to the floor.

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Photos: Sean Conroy