Duffy - Komedia, Brighton

You don’t need me to tell you who Duffy is because, if you listen to music (and one assumes you do if you're reading this), there's a 99.9999% chance the words 'yeah, yeah, yeah' have been stuck in your head for the last three weeks. The simple but catchy hook from the Welsh songstress' single Mercy has proved so catchy that the track has been sitting pretty at the top of the charts, the buzz surrounding it and that voice propelling her debut album to the dizzy heights of number one too. A resounding echo of 'Adele who?' can be heard clearly ringing through the land.

At a sold-out Komedia, Duffy is continuing her biggest string of dates since the hype exploded. The warm-up DJ sets the scene perfectly for her brand of nu-soul, spewing hit after hit from the Motown canon, and apparently her vocal talent is so huge it scared off any potential support act; the lights dim and, far from an eager-to-please newbie looking for a break, the lady herself calmly strides onto stage.

Accompanied by a four-piece band, she is so petite that one feels instinctively protective of her, fearing she might get lost on what is a modestly-sized stage. Instead, she politely says hello and then coolly introduces her first number; the opening piano line of Rockferry rings through the air, soon followed by a wonderfully emotive quivering thing that just happens to be Duffy's voice. The song explodes from its midsection onward, leaving the bewildered crowd quaking in its wake and asking themselves the question 'where has this girl been all my life?'. Almost cruelly, not giving the audience chance to recover, she follows with Warwick Avenue, a ballad that takes its cues from the great soul songwriting of the 60s and another one that eases us in before those big notes are hit and held. Alas, the hype is merited: this girl is a huge talent.

The detractors may have an argument when it comes to the music itself; although her voice is outstanding and makes all the tracks worthy live material, a couple of them are so enamoured by the golden oldies they're trying to be that they lose any original slant. Nevertheless, the stripped-down Syrup and Honey manages to overcome its corny title by becoming a highlight of the evening, her backing band leaving the stage to allow this undoubted star to freewheel over a solo guitar backing.

When she slips and refers to tonight's stop as 'Nottingham', she narrowly avoids a full-scale riot by bashfully correcting her mistake and being just plain lovely about it. Even if she hadn't apologised, the universal Stepping Stone steps right on the heart; she precedes it by telling the crowd she wrote it about a man she loved who 'still doesn't know' and, as she belts it out meaning every word, surely everyone in attendance is thinking of their own lost loves as they direct their eyes at her. Only having one album to deliver, it's a short gig that goes down as deliciously as her smooth tones. She introduces closer Mercy with minimum fuss, as if its not the biggest song in the UK right now, and the uptempo vibe is one that she would do well to expand upon, so as not to end up like the hugely talented Beverley Knight whose massive vocals are left to flounder on bland songs. I get the feeling she won't have to worry: the captivated crowd tonight are an indicator that this is the last ever tour she'll be playing at venues as teeny as herself.

Last updated: 19/04/2018 00:08:02

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