Noisettes, Tiffany Page - Roundhouse London
I had caught London based singer Tiffany Page at the capital's Garage venue, performing in their intimate "upstairs" section earlier in the month, enjoying her set, so decided to see how she'd fair in far grander surroundings, taking a trip to the Roundhouse to watch her support the Noisettes.
Tiffany was joined on the Roundhouse stage by three male band members and delivered a short but sweet set containing radio friendly gutsy rock songs.
She mentioned that she was a bit nervous as she was playing her home town but I didn't notice any deer in the headlights moments. She wasn't the most energetic performer, preferring to spend the majority of the set centre stage strumming the guitar but I felt the music spoke for itself anyway with a variety of decent songs on offer including opener "Police", forthcoming single "Walk Away Slow" and "Hope He Doesn't Know About You".
Tiffany's musical output actually seemed to improve in the larger surroundings with the chorus's of "Heaven Ain't Easy" and set closer "Playing With Fire" both sounding excellent in the larger environment. She dropped a bit of clanger just before "Fire". Her Mum was in the audience and she took the moment before the song's start to let her know she'd just had her first tattoo done! She did say she was sorry and dedicated her final song to her but I wonder if it was enough to save her from an ear bashing?
The rest of the audience seemed to be happy with Tiffany's set anyway and she left the stage to a decent round of applause, possibly legging it in the direction of Camden Market straight after, an umbrella wielding angry Mother in hot pursuit!
Noisettes released their debut album What's The Time Mr Wolf? back in 2007. I wasn't that fussed by the offering, with only a couple of tracks taking my fancy so I didn't become a fan of the band until around the end of 2008 when I caught their song "Wild Young Hearts" on BBC 6 Music.
It was one of those moments when you desperately had to hear a song again straight after and I searched high and low for the next few weeks for the track with only a MySpace snippet to keep me company in the days that followed.
Eventually the song was released along with the trio's sophomore album of the same name so I was able to listen to it all day long if it took my fancy!
The Noisettes second collection rocketed them into the mainstream arena, producing a host of successful singles, helping them to secure a large fan base, due in part to their scintillating live shows fronted by the band's captivating lead singer Shingai Shoniwa.
I managed to watch the band on a couple of occasions in 2009, with a show at the Roundhouse as part of the Turning Point Festival and a T In The Park set both delivering great moments, with the T slot winning the band FORTH2 Best Performance Award from the Scottish radio station.
I was obviously looking forward to the band's Roundhouse set, especially as there was an air of mystery in the building as the band had chosen to put up red curtains across the stage so the set up couldn't be seen.
This didn't stop a few of the assembled photographers in the photo pit sneaking a peak under the curtain mind you, but you can't really get excited by glimpses of people's feet walking across the stage (unless you're Quentin Tarantino that is).
Eventually the intro to album opener "Sometimes" was struck up, an intro that seemed to go on forever until the curtains finally opened, revealing Shingai standing at the back of the set, with the band moving the track on from its lengthy beginning.
The first three songs actually went past in a bit of a blur due to hectic conditions in the photo pit. I do remember a line from "Walk Like An Egyptian" getting thrown into the chorus of "Wild Young Hearts" though. It was nice to be able to take things in a bit more when song number four "Saturday Night" came along after my three song photo allocation was over.
The band's set was pulled mostly from Wild Young Hearts throughout the night, with little time spent reflecting on their debut. The trio obviously had a lengthy set to fill though and pulled this off by peppering the show with a few choice cover versions. I didn't take to their rendition of Diana Ross's "Chain Reaction", probably due to the mix from where I was standing as the staccato guitar stabs made it sound a bit stodgy. Their take on The Killers "When You Were Young" fared a lot better though, with the crowd loving it.
Wolf's "Don't Give Up" allowed guitarist Dan Smith a chance to really shine towards the end of the song, with an extended guitar solo wowing the audience. He even managed to throw in a few bars played with his teeth!
While Dan was having his little Hendrix moment Shingai was backstage, slipping into a different costume, complete with new head gear. Her onstage arrival heralded the appearance of another cover in the set, one that would produce my highlight of the evening. The Noisettes version of "Pure Imagination" from Charlie And The Chocolate Factory (AKA the Sky HD ad) was a real delight to hear, I liked to it so much I felt I'd found a golden ticket on the Roundhouse floor!
Things moved up a gear with the appearance of "Don't Upset The Rhythm" in the set. This was the song that brought the band to a lot of people's attention due to its appearance in a Mazda commercial and it probably produced the biggest reaction of the night from the crowd.
The set seemed to fly by after that with early single "Scratch Your Name" and set closer, the ever wonderful "Never Forget You" delivering the best moments of the set's second half.
The band returned to the stage for an encore, well at least Dan did, picking out the intro to "Atticus" then proceeding to point towards the back of the room as the verse was due to start. The house lights were brought up so everyone could see Shingai serenading the balcony audience at the back of the auditorium.
Shingai is a girl with a death defying sense of adventure! She performed the same song at the "T" gig scaling up a very high side of stage piece of scaffolding, delivering a verse bent over backwards. The Roundhouse rendition wasn't quite as exciting as I felt she was slightly stifled by the health and safety bods that surrounded her as she hung slightly over the balcony. It was still great to watch and hear though, with the nearby crowd including her old mucker Miss Paloma Faith cheering her on during the song.
The band wound up their encore with "Every Now and Then" and "Sister Rosetta", a great ending to a stunning hometown gig.