And what of Paloma?
We went to see Paloma Faith on Saturday. You might have heard this, New York, her hit single. She is currently working on her second album and treated us to a couple of songs from it, invoking a clap-ometer type approach to decide whether they'll make it on to the album or not. They will.
Paloma has an MSc in Theatre Design, and this comes through so much in how she portrays her music, her art, herself. The stage set was simple but striking. Black and white checker-board stage, black backing singers in red, band in shades of white rocking and rolling against a backdrop of cloud filled sky by turns flame red and electric blue. A tall tree festooned with lights providing drama by the bucketful.
Paloma herself is niceness personified, as mad as a badger, beautiful, chatting and chuckling away while trying to slither gracefully atop a white grand piano, threatening to give us all a flash of her knickers beneath her teal silk evening dress. She began the night berigged in what I could only describe as a large white lace fan in plastic masquerading as an angel's wings, which she put up or down like you would a fan to match the next song. She had to be helped out of the wings as if she were wearing an accordion.
Paloma admonished us all to embrace our wobbly bits, our bingo wings, and to eschew the gym and fruitless diets, asking the many men present whether they 'liked a bit of meat' on their women? Apparently they do!
Paloma might call herself, self-deprecatingly, a 'pop princess', but she deserves to be far bigger than any of the so-called pop divas de nos jours. Amy Winehouse might have opened the door for the Palomas and Duffys of this world, but Paloma with her range and depth, reminded me of Etta James and, in fact, her signature tune is 'At Last', which she manages beautifully. Later she parlayed through CeeLo Green's 'Forget You' with aplomb, setting aside the polite radio version, with apologies to all the parents of some of the little girls present for the swear words, and rocking it out skilfully, joking that she wished she'd written it herself.
In the encore, once more atop the piano and accompanied only by her highly talented and energetic pianist, Dom Pipkin, she managed Nick Cave's 'Into My Arms'... Spellbinding. And not easy to sing. She is far from a manufactured diva. Paloma is fresh and exciting, theatrical and wonderful, genuine and soul-ful.
The audience was very mixed, young and old alike. Heartening to see. Hopefully they will stick by her. She's certainly a far healthier, more accessible, role model for the young things than many today.
I hope I am not alone in having faith in Paloma. I loved her. So did my difficult to please husband. And that's saying something.
Paloma was supported by Eliza Doolittle. A very natural, as yet unspoiled, artiste. Clean voice, nice range. One to watch. And you can HERE