Paloma Faith @ Birmingham Academy, 25th March 2010

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The first time I came across Hackney’s singer/songwriter/actress, Miss Faith, was a few months back whilst bored on a Saturday morning tucking into my cornflakes. Up popped this eccentric young lady cooking an omelette on the BBC’s Saturday Kitchen show. Paloma Faith instantly made me sit up and take notice. So quirky and fun, you can’t help but get drawn to her. When I heard she was coming to town, I simply had to see her do what she does best (her omelette wasn’t that good)!

Now, I’ll be honest…I had my reservations about tonight. I hadn’t really heard much of her and feared the experience would be yet another post Amy Winehouse soul singer on stage putting on somewhat of a boring show. I also had no idea what kind of following this artist would have. Needless to say I was totally shocked to see the main room of the Birmingham Academy rammed with people staring at the stage that dressed in a highly theatrical manner.

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The lights dim and the band walk on stage, followed shortly by the figure of Paloma Faith shrouded with burlesque style orange feathered fans. As she approached the microphone centre of stage, the feathers are pulled open to reveal Paloma as she begins to belt the opener, swaying back and forth, dancing in time with her flamboyant fans in a way you could imagine she may have done as a small child in her mother’s vanity mirror. There is something very child like, innocent and infectiously cheerful about everything you can see and hear from the stage

With hushed and slightly croaky tones, Faith asked the crowd to quiet and settle down, with the exception of some heckling from one plonker in the audience, the entire venue fell silent, where she continued to explain that she had been advised by doctors not to do this evenings show due to throat / voice issues. Faiths honesty about her voice did nothing but help the audience to warm to the artist further.

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The set included the singles expected such as ‘Stone Cold Sober’ and “New York” which were obvious crowd pleasers, but personal highlights came in the stripped down, piano driven cover of Billie Holiday, and probably more memorable a cover of David Guetta ft AKON ‘Sexy Bitch’ (go listen on you tube from her BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge session).

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Another highlight from the show came at the beginning of the third song, when a young boy is picked and pulled from the audience to join Faith on stage, where she sings for him. This could have been one of those horribly awkward and embarrassing moments, but in fact worked well. The boy, who was a clear fan stood mesmerised as Faith sang to him, but soon loosened up and danced hand in hand with her in a manner reminiscent of young school children in the playground.

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So orange feathered fans, purple sequined cat-suits and theatrical stage setups aside, does Faith successfully separate herself from the array she will undoubtedly be compared too. Well, yes. Her sumptuous, soulful-pop voice (which did not seem to be hampered in the slightest), coupled with the sheer emotion in which her songs are delivered equate to a rich and fulfilling show. Throw in the theatrics, you are presented with a truly magical experience, one I will keep with me for a long time.

Review & Photos — Keith West

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2 thoughts on “Paloma Faith @ Birmingham Academy, 25th March 2010

  1. great snaps from what seemed to be a great gig
    shame i missed her, but i just find the Academy a shithole and a bugger to get to, and so i’m missing a bagful of good gigs 🙁

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