UPDATE: A REVIEW OF PALOMA FAITH AND THE GUY BARKER ORCHESTRA AT THE BARBICAN HALL ON DECEMBER 10th 2010 IS H E R E
Venturing into Shoreditch in the pouring rain late on a Friday night turned out to be a worthy decision.
Arriving just in time to catch the end of the house band’s first set at the opulent Last Days of Decadence, I was immediately floored by the driving beast of a drummer that was Pedro Segundo, standing in for Enzo Zirilli. Quentin Collins (trumpet) and Brandon Allen (tenor sax) with Ross Stanley (organ) make up the rest of a quartet whom from first impressions might be likened to a heavier Nicola Conte set-up, particularly in the Collins original, ‘No Way Jose’, written for an errant South American cousin. The bebop stylings over a compelling latin groove were a perfect vehicle for Brandon Allen’s powerful sound.
The basement room is a standing one, always a favourite with me at gigs, despite the inevitable aching dancing feet. It’s a compact space, but there was still a comfortable amount of oxygen for the painfully fashionable punters.
Paloma Faith, introduced as a ‘local girl made good’ by friend Collins, started her set by announcing “this is me doing something low pressure – so if I make a mistake – f*** it”. She may have at certain points been reaching out of her comfort zone, but if she did feel uncomfortable, she hid it with style.
The first chart ‘Lets Get Lost’ showed a singer that could give Little Voice a run for her money, her voice soaked in inflections of Billie, bits of Dinah and an almost Eartha Kitt drawl. Quentin Collin’s solo showed a lovely smooth sound. The doffed cap to Billie Holiday was particularly noticeable in a great arrangement of Good Morning Heartache, set up with a tasty groove by Ross Stanley on organ. Stanley really shone on his long introduction to Black Coffee, worthy of a Delta gospel church.
Faith’s signature tune ‘At Last’ brought a taste of her burlesque background, stood on top a monitor, all sensual arm movements and expressive features. It also revealed a glimpse of her natural voice, a rich pure delight. But Faith truly excelled in the funkier songs of the set, such as the last song of the night, a sparkling, cheeky rendition of Candi Staton’s I’d Rather Be An Old Man.
On thanking her band, Faith described them as ‘some of the best musicians in London’. From the taster I got, she could be right.
Paloma Faith will be performing with a host of stars at the Concert for Care on October 18th.
And with Guy Barker’s Orchestra at the Barbican Centre on 10 December.
The Late Set is every Friday night at Last Days of Decadence and continues next Friday with a guest set from Ray Gelato.