Paloma Faith

Artist: Paloma Faith
Date: 8 February
Venue: O2 Academy Shepherd’s Bush
Review: Rhiannon Williams
Rating: ****

Paloma Faith’s star is soaring. Following memorable performances on ‘Later… with Jools Holland’ and the considerable vitriol aimed at her outrageous outfits in Heat magazine, Faith is closing her first headlining tour in London. She takes to the stage shrouded in peach-coloured ostrich feather fans, stalking around in six-inch scarlet sex shop shoes.

Opening with a rousing ‘Smoke and Mirrors’, her voice has a rare visceral quality, swelling and filling the venue with a surprising energy and power far exceeding her diminutive stature. Her brand of jazz-and-pop infused funky soul is sincere and intelligent, completed by her backing singers and band.

Faith live is a very different experience to listening to her recordings. The inevitable gloss of the studio falls away and her roughly honed talent really shines: skilfully weaving tales of heartbreak and lust whilst sidestepping the narcissistic introspection of peers Amy Winehouse and Lily Allen.

In between songs Faith regales us in her kittenish Hackney purr. “I’m looking for a gentleman to charm the pants off me,” she muses coquettishly, selecting an audience member to serenade with the sickly saccharine ‘Romance is Dead’. “Last night I thought I was gonna get arrested – tonight it looks like you might be,” she cackles as a slightly chubby ladies’ man joins her, introducing himself as Larry.

A commanding showgirl with a saucy grin, Faith throws herself around the elaborate stage set whilst powering through her debut album ‘Do You Want The Truth Or Something Beautiful?’, alongside some covers.

Her rawness coupled with the odd missed note makes Faith a loaded pistol of showmanship and honesty, bellowing her way through encore ‘New York’ to a rapturous standing ovation.

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