Thursday, July 23, 2009

La Roux & IO Echo @ Cafe Du Nord, San Francisco, 22 July 2009

La Roux shoes by Amber Gregory
Photo of Elly Jackson's shoes by Amber Gregory. She has more fab photos of La Roux at Cafe Du Nord.

IO Echo are just beginning. There is a strange contrast between the engaging singer's gun pointing poses during the songs and her giggles during the breaks. They don't have many songs and include a Beatles tune but the songs they do have were nicely structured.

It was crowded and hot in the Cafe du Nord. I had a younger, slightly shorter companion with me, attending her first concert, so we squeezed in near the front. As we waited we admired keyboardist Mikey’s Mac, which had a La Roux screen saver. Elly Jackson was performing with two keyboardists as her drummer was absent with visa problems. She sung better than I expected, her melancholy voice is clear, though stronger in the lower registers. The crowd liked the more up-tempo songs. She dances occasionally, crouched down at the back of the stage. She wraps an arm about her diaphragm as she sings, as if she needs to squeeze out the words. She is not a natural performer, but she does enjoy herself, at one point she tries to put keyboard player Nikki off her backing vocals on Quicksand. She seems used to playing festivals, at the end she makes a joke that people who don't like electropop will be pleased that it's over, forgetting that we all paid to be there to see her. They only play songs for the album, which keeps things pleasantly short.

I was around for the first wave of synthpop in the 1980's (when I was, like Elly, a major user of Elnett), and I love the way La Roux have used that sound. I am also amused at the way Ben Langmaid has taken the role of being the quiet one in the duo to greater heights than even Chris Lowe by not actually appearing on stage.

Elly was also on the cover of The Guardian that morning...

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