Wednesday 26 June 2013

Sky Ferreira at H & M Oxford Street - 25 June 2013

Sky Ferreira

It seems like a bad idea. Sky Ferreira is playing an invitation only gig at H&M in Oxford Street.

So this is why I'm standing in a queue of excited teenagers that snakes round the building, drawing queries from passersby and muttering from folk who are trying to use the nearby bus stop. It's not really a crowd that I can easily blend in with, so I adopt the demeanour of a taciturn Russian minder.

There's an awkward moment upon entering the store when I have to squeeze into a tightly packed lift. It's so cramped that if I breathe out, we're gonna get trapped between floors.

Upstairs we are shown into an area teaming with excited youth. There's a sign that says "Try it on!" I decide that I'd better not.

We are eventually stacked like kindling in a small space delineated by curtains. We are facing a huge neon sign. It reads…'Fitting Room'.

One of the first lessons learned in rock school is 'make 'em wait'. And wait we do in our sardine state for nearly half an hour after Sky's purported stage time.

Then Sky appears and all discontent and doubts about this evening disappear.

She's a genuine pop star. While between songs she is all nerves and giggles, when the music starts she is all business.

I saw her earlier this year at Madame Jo Jo's and was impressed on that occasion. Tonight I'm even more so.

Unlike many young pop stars, there is no sense of sticking to a rigid or safe formula. The tunes vary from rock numbers, to emotional ballads, to dancey pop. Sky is able to nail them all with aplomb. And make you care while she's doing so.

To my unaccustomed ears, the best track tonight is a brand new one called 'On Top'. It's got a rumbling rocky churn to it and it builds in intensity and repetition as it goes on.

Huge ballad '24 Hours' elicits squeals from the young crowd and camera phones are held aloft (yes, even more than usual) during a climactic rendition of 'Everything is Embarrassing'.

We troop out through the store in polite order and are given a goodie bag containing a T shirt and other odds and ends which I'll have to find a good home for.

It's been an unorthodox but very enjoyable evening. Sky’s the limit. 

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