Wednesday 27 February 2013

Sky Ferreira at Madame Jo Jo's - 26 February 2013

Sky Ferreira by Howard Melnyczuk

This is rather an event. Tickets have been rationed like the last crumbs of chocolate in Captain Scott’s back pack.

I’m not really sure why. Sky Ferreira seems an odd construct- she’s had one single, sung on an album track by New York underachievers The Virgins – the impression in advance is of someone who is famous for being famous.

First we have to negotiate Pale, who are two young lands with the germ of an idea.

While one busies himself with his keyboards, the other plays occasional guitar and croons. Pale are very much from the ‘new soul’ school of artists, which I always rather struggle with because it sounds far too much like the original soul music that I rebelled against in my teenage years.

Gender aside, Pale remind me of AlunaGeorge, who are currently being bigged up as a next big thing despite never being more than mildly interesting whenever I’ve seen them.

The singer has a decent voice, but rather overreaches himself when the band play a version of Bronski Beats ‘Small Town Boy’. Jimmy Somerville’s shoes are big ones to fill.

The first sign of Sky Ferreira’s arrival is an enormous battery of lights plonked directly in front of the drum kit.

With her band in place, and after the bare minimum of faffing about from numerous roadies, Sky strides onstage. Immediately the reason for a lot of the media attention becomes clear – she’s so photogenic that it is probably technically impossible to produce a poor image of her.

Blonde hair piled wildly about her face and wearing an exquisite black mini-dress that is a marvel of concealment, Ferreira certainly looks the part.

In the early part of the show she is clearly very stiff and nervous. The first song is a stomping glam racket of a number, but Sky barely moves and her voice is very measured and mannered. The second track passes in much the same way. The band are loose but the singer isn’t.

However, all this changes when, accompanied by just an acoustic guitar, she unleashes an enormous rather countrified torch song called ‘Sad Dream’. While the song itself is pretty formulaic, it does relax Ferreira, who forgets to be cool and just lets rip.

The ice is broken. The set continues and it becomes clear that she is much more at home with the showbizzy American Idol power ballads than when in surly rock chick mode.

Ultimately, Sky Ferreira is rather sweet. She has fits of giggles, confuses herself when trying to juggle her microphone and open a bottle of water at the same time and is good fun to be with.

I’m glad to have seen her. I don’t think that she is a long term pop prospect, but right here, right now, she’s a very pretty girl enjoying her fifteen minutes in the spotlight.

And there are a lot worse things in the world than that. 

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