Ida Maria + VV Brown + Birdpen @ Birmingham Barfly – 15th November 2008

Ida Maria

BirdPen opened the evening by flitting between gentle vocals and ominous noise with heavy beats. They were reasonable opening-act fare, but I’m not sure cranking the volume up to distortion levels will have improved their sound. Whatever, they didn’t deserve the hand signals waved at them by one guy leaning against the barrier.

V.V BrownV.V Brown

VV Brown is a pop poppet currently being wrung through the indie venue mill. If her career takes off in the way that is planned then I doubt she’ll be back playing the likes of the Barfly again. Equal parts Pipettes and Duffy, she’s yet another following the watered-down, post-Winehouse wave.
It’d be curmudgeonly not to have enjoyed her set though. She’s still a fairly raw talent, with a good voice, charm and bags of enthusiasm although the stage moves she’s been taught don’t quite look natural yet. We’ll probably be hearing more from her.

Ida MariaIda Maria

Ida Maria is no such carefully managed popster. In her first few minutes on stage she shrieked into the mic, ruffled her hair into a disheveled mop and toddled around swigging from a bottle of wine – probably not her first one of the evening.
The ensuing hour was a perfectly paced, energy-packed riot of fun. It’s been a while since I saw a performer give their fans what they want so exactly as to seem laser-guided. The album, ‘Fortress Around My Heart’ was played in full with a couple of new songs chucked into the mix but it’s hard to pick highlights in a set where every song was rapturously received.

Ida Maria

For sheer singalong joy, ‘Stella’, ‘I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked’ and, especially, ‘Oh My God’ stood out. The only duff note(s) came up at the start of the encore – Ida accompanying herself by picking away on a bass guitar. This was soon forgotten in the maelstrom of the final song, leaving a (tired and) emotional Ida stood at the front on the stage not wanting to leave.

Review – Chris Unitt

Photos – Chris Barber

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