Diana Vickers - The Scala London
Diana Vickers first popped onto the general public's radar with her appearance on the 2008 season of reality show The X Factor. Although sporting clobber usually seen on a myriad of Top Shop buying teenagers, Miss Vickers was deemed too 'alternative' for Saturday night telly watchers so was lumbered with a 'quirky' tag throughout her time on the series. With no recently deceased partners or obvious disabilities to help her along Diana still managed to endear herself to the audience, ending the competition in a very respectable fourth place.
After her Factor commitments were over Diana seemed to disappear from public view, returning unexpectedly in an award-winning acting role, playing the title character in The Rise And Fall Of Little Voice in London's Strand at the end of 2009. She had already been busy throughout that year, collaborating with a host of songwriters including Lightspeed Champion, Nerina Pallot and Ellie Goulding, with the fruits of her labour appearing on debut album Songs From The Tainted Cherry Tree, its appearance heralded by debut single "Once".
She seems to have retained a strong selection of her Factor fanbase and possibly gained a few more followers in the months that have followed as both album and single have managed to hit the Number One spot in the charts - a great feat for any artiste, never mind someone releasing their debut. Diana's been promoting the album around the UK and turned up at London's Scala hoping to entertain a capacity crowd with songs from the selection.
I must admit, I'm hooked on almost every music-based talent show and tend to look forward to photographing acts from this genre more than critically acclaimed bands deemed more worthy. Heck, I'd even be first in line for the photo pit if Over The Rainbow's Jessica fronted an indie band and started gigging! That being said, I had a blast photographing American Idol's Adam Lambert at the end of last month and was looking forward just as much to Miss Vickers taking to the stage.
The last few times I've visited The Scala their photo pit hasn't been in place so it's just been a case of getting in early, squeezing my way to the front and standing in the same spot all night. As luck would have it the pit was in place for Diana's set so even though the it was fairly packed with photographers there was still a little more room to move around for our three song allocation.
Diana's fans were an expectant bunch so there were the usual cheers and jeers as road crew set up things, with the loudest roar of all reserved for Miss Vickers as she took to the stage, starting proceedings with my favourite track on her album - "The Boy Who Murdered Love". My first impressions of Diana as a performer was how confident she seemed onstage. The "Little Diana from Blackburn" persona has certainly disappeared, replaced by a real performer with far more stage presence than the majority of her electro pop contemporaries.
If truth be told I expected Diana's vocals to be fairly low in the Scala mix on the off chance she couldn't cut it live but her voice soared above the backing, delivering vocals that bettered the album renditions of the songs on display, proving she was the whole package.
Diana seemed ecstatic to be appearing in front of the Scala crowd. She had already stated before playing "Jumping Into Rivers" (the track she penned with Ellie Goulding) that the audience were buzzing and this was THE show that she was excited about, proceeding to ask them all to have a good dance to "Remake Me and You".
After "N.U.M.B" the evening moved on with Diana showing her slightly softer side with a great take on album ballad "Four Leaf Clover" and the track she penned with Nerina Pallot "Put It Back Together".
Diana took a detour from her debut to deliver a rendition of Snow Patrol song "Just Say Yes", telling the crowd that Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody originally gave the song to her but stole it back when he realised how good it was! This led to a few boos from the audience but Diana placated them by saying she was still able to cover the song in the BBC's Live Lounge and absolutely loses herself in the track when playing it live. It was a strong rendition so hopefully we'll get a studio version some point down the line.
The set was drawing to a close but there was still time for Diana to give audience members the horn! So without further ado she picked up her trumpet (named Tina or Tommy as she doesn't know if it's a boy or a girl!) telling the crowd that she wanted to see them dancing drinking and having a ball and proceeded to toot her way through uptempo track "My Hip", leading to one of the night's highlights. There was obviously one track missing from the set at this point so Diana bidded us farewell with a storming version of her debut single "Once", returning for a brief encore in the shape of "Notice".
Although I was looking forward to the gig I enjoyed it a lot more than expected as Miss Vickers knows how to put on a show. I wasn't the only one having fun either as the capacity crowd gave her a rapturous response so I imagine the evening turned out to be all Diana hoped it would.