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Music | Doin’ It For The Thrill (Concert Review)

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I’m just back from seeing UK electro-pop outfit La Roux perform their Sydney gig at the Enmore Theatre. And here’s my verdict.

Let me be upfront and honest. It was not an impressive concert. The punters were there to hear the hits, the band itself was peripheral. I felt the same endearing feeling I’d feel if my 11-year-old nephew was on stage doing his thing … for the thrill. I’d be supportive, proud and encouraging. And that’s how I felt.

But ultimately I felt bored and like I was being entertained by a bunch of teenagers … doing it for a thrill.

For those unfamiliar with La Roux, it’s an electropop band (ie they use synths) from the UK chiefly comprising Eleanor Jackson and Ben Langmain. Eleanor is the daughter of this actress from UK tv series The Bill. But, from the gig, Ben Langmain seems to be at the heart of it all.

There’s something Warholian about it all. It was like they were all at a fancy dress party and the theme was 80s. Underneath it all, it’s pretty normal and conventional. The image of the 80s (so clearly referenced in their clips) becomes so detached from the experience that it’s like a costume you can wear. This is what came across to me. And check out the music video to “Bulletproof” out too.

Jackson does have a good voice, and she puts a lot of emotion into her performance. But, she really needed to put some personality into it. There were a couple of technical hiccups during the performance — don’t apologise or feel bad for them.

And the band member who got the greatest ovation from the audience? Drummer William Bowerman — they heart-throb prettyboy with the blow-wave hair. The duo was upstaged by their supporting band member and because he looked like something out of a Tommy Hilfiger ad.

Is La Roux riding the crest of a wave of electropop? I think so. And think they’ll pretty much be in the same bag as Mika. The great thing is that they have fun doing it and produce a few good hits.

This 30something person noticed a change though. It’s like people are there just to hear the hits and not to see the band … because there kind of is no band. When I went to see Tori Amos or Bjork or Regurgitator the experience wasn’t just hearing their music but seeing them perform.

La Roux, quite frankly, didn’t perform.

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Written by Darren Smith

30 September 2009 at 1:18 am

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