Caro Emerald / The Noisettes - The Penthouse London / Union Chapel London
London's swanky Penthouse venue played host to the first of two gigs I would attend in the one evening, with Holland's Caro Emerald taking to the Penthouse stage to perform a short industry showcase. Caro is a recent signing to Dramatico, who seem to be getting edgier in their old age, with Katie Melua going bonkers on the dancefloor on her current album and now Caro delivering songs with their base in the 40s and 50s with a DJ producing the beats (gasp!) instead of a drummer.
Caro has been hugely succesful back home, with her debut album Deleted Scenes From The Cutting Room Floor firmly fixed at the top of the charts for months and months and I imagine she'll have a bit of success over here if her live set is anything to go by. Album opener "That Man" kicked off proceedings. As this was a London industry crowd there was pretty much zero chance of the joint jumping but many a foot was tapping in the house during the song and the tracks that followed!
I really enjoyed Caro's set but prefer the parts of her output that are slightly less retro, including forthcoming single "Back It Up" that has a slight Frank era Winehouse vibe about it and the twangy guitar laden "The Other Woman", a song that reminded me of US band Shivaree. I'm sure Radio 2 will love the lady anyway so she can fight it out with golden toned Rumer as their new favourite artiste of the latter part of the year. I''ll be interested to see what happens when Caro's album drops over here anyway.
I jumped in the Penthouse lift the second Caro's set ended, legging it to the Underground to head to Islington to catch Noisettes playing a very special show at the exquisite Union Chapel.
The band have recently lost their original drummer so now feature Shingai Shoniwa on vocals and Dan Smith on guitar backed by various band members and backing vocalists. The gig was a warm up show for the Lake Of Stars Festival in Malawi in October, with the show helping to raise awareness for the event.
I've seen the pair on a few occasions over the last year or so but the Union Chapel bash seemed more of an event, with a slightly different set on offer and the band on excellent form, treating us to tracks from both albums and a few covers, including their take on "Pure Imagination" from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, with Shingai's delivery melting my heart as always.
The set was a real family affair with Shingai's brother joining his big sis onstage to sing "Every Now and Then" and a few other family members in attendance, some that would make their presence known towards the end of the performance!
It really was a glorious gig, with the band receiving a enormous roar of applause on leaving the stage after their final song leading to an inevitable encore. This was my cue to play spot the Shingai with a fellow photographer as she normally likes to appear somewhere on a balcony to sing "Atticus" if the option is there. We couldn't see her up above no matter how hard we looked and she eventually popped up draped on top of the pulpit. Perhaps the balcony was a bit dangerous this time round, even with God on her side! It didn't take long for the encore to turn into a real party, with the singer inviting everyone to stand up and dance, followed by a call for dancers onstage, with the space getting crammed with friends, fans and family members fairly quickly, resulting in everyone in the venue grinning from ear to ear!
I'm not sure how many of the people attending the show will end up heading over to Malawi in October but hopefully a few more people got wind of an event that would be a great experience. There's a whisper Noisettes are going to return to the Union Chapel later in the year as part of the Little Noise Sessions so I'll be keeping an eye out for that one nearer the time...