Tag Archive: Meanwhile

La Roux + Meanwhile @ The Institute, Birmingham – Saturday 8th November 2014

Tonight we’re borrowing the good Doctor’s Tardis for time travel paradoxically back in time to the modern day. A retro- inspired synth-pop dance-athon back to the future courtesy of 1983, but actually right here, and right now – as we take a trip to The Institute courtesy of Grammy-winning act, La Roux.

La Roux formed in 2006, made up of singer Elly Jackson and record producer Ben Langmaid. Their debut self titled album was a commercial and critical success – winning a Grammy and spawning hit singles ‘In for the Kill’ and ‘Bulletproof.’  The album sold 2 million and spawned 6 million singles sales.The follow up proved a somewhat difficult feet, and Langmaid walked, leaving Jackson on her own, taking the bands name and finally releasing the second La Roux album ‘Trouble in Paradise’ in 2014. Following some low-key dates over the summer, she’s here at the Institute tonight – part of a string of UK dates and then off to Europe.

La Roux-12

Meanwhile…. we still thinking. We’ll maybe not – but we are transported back to precisely 1983 with support band Meanwhile. Think of electronic pop funk – tune that could merrily be the soundtrack to Miami Vice or The Breakfast Club. Lead singer and keyboardist has the blonde lock of Sylvian, with rock out vocals. They’re newbies – and have their debut EP out ‘The Element Yes’ on the 1 December 2014.  If commercial American retro-pop electronica is your scene take a look at em – and maybe give them a like on Facebook to get their likes over 970 and follow ‘em on Twitter – they’ve just 355 followers…

And in between performers tonight, the lights been to the glitter ball in the center of the high ceiling venue – party is a-coming. And  a little after 8.30 (we have a 10pm curfew on the venue tonight before Drum and Bass party night appears) dry ice permeates the stage, lights go down – we’re in darkness. La Roux take to the stage; a panting chant starts up, repeating and repeating as the keyboards join in to screams and cheers from the crowd. This is recent single ‘Let Me Down Gently’ and as Jackson is illuminated from the darkness and the song starts to rise the crowd cheer.

“Hello Birmingham – tech problems as we started up – thanks for coming out… Cold outside innit…?” as Jackson takes us into the next track ‘Fascination’ a full on retro dance track, which get the crowd clapping before morphing into ‘Kiss and Not Tell’ an upbeat clippity clappy track.

Jackson imparts that she forgot to say happy birthday to someone – Mr. Moses clearly isn’t here – “well you try and do something nice….” she quips.  For hit ‘In for the Kill’ many people in the audience get their cameras out – a sea of LED screens – as the spectacular light show gets the crowd bopping.

And the cheers get bigger after each song – and the screams – people ae partaking in falling down water – a young lad in front of us, with his cider mix – clearly things he’s dancing is far cooler than his dads. ‘Cruel Sexuality’ rolls and extends into a bass beat driven dance track. ‘I’m Not Your Toy’ is clearly recognised by the crowd and the fans bop more and hands are in the air.

‘Uptight Downtown’ has a Bowiesque ‘Let’s Dance’ rhythm and the track once again raves down as Jackson takes guitar in hand. “We’d play all night if we could….’ Jackson rues the venue curfew – and we’re in a  Yazoo-inspired tap-tap-tap on the keyboards as we’re delivered  ‘Colourless Colour’  – Jackson’s goals seeming getting higher,  and the crowd clap clap clap as it cranks up the rhythm.

And the dancing man wobbles, his dad dancing days over for now, I fear his legs won’t carry him much longer as he totters off….. ‘Silent Partner’ has a rave vibe – and I almost get to sing Donna Summer’s ‘I fell Love’ though the track doesn’t quite morph.

Encore – stomping drumbeat – ‘Tigerlily’ all atmosphere – and the wobbly man is back – and slumps across his mate. The screaming and cheering is getting louder – and then the main hit ‘Bulletproof’ get’s arms in the air and everyone jumping and singing. With an abrupt stop to the track and it’s over to a huge reponse from the crowd and applause to their reaction from the band. And at just 9.45pm we make our way homeward (or party ward).

La Roux are upbeat – that sort of happy smily synth-pop. It is difficult to know why the second album was quite so hard there didn’t seem to be much of a departure live from the previous album – and nowt particularly revolutionary going on here. But La Roux do what La Roux do best and the crowd do indeed love it. New stuff probably a better fit overseas rather than in the UK, is it bulletproof? Only time will tell.

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Setlist
Let Me Down Gently
Fascination
Kiss and Not Tell
In for the Kill
Quicksand
Sexotheque
Cruel Sexuality
I’m Not Your Toy
Tropical Chancer
Uptight Downtown
Colourless Colour
Silent Partner

Encore:
Tigerlily
Bulletproof

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Pictures courtesy of Ken Harrison. Review for Gig Junkies and 102.5 The Bridge.