Sunday, October 30, 2005

madeleine peroux @ the barbican

when madeleine peroux walked out onto stage, i hate to admit it but i was disappointed.

i had no idea what she was going to look like – i suppose i expected something between a femme fatale and a banshee to house that incredible smoky voice, but in fact, she looked like an averagely attractive woman with brown hair, opting for the safe option in black trousers.

of course, this is nothing compared to my disappointment at myself.

there’s something disgusting about the fact that i expected her to be ethereal and other-worldly, abhorrent proof that i buy into all the crap about image over music. it seems to be an occupational hazard – being a girl with a guitar. even if you’re kick-ass fantastic, when you walk out on stage at Glastonbury, as did PJ Harvey, in a tight union jack geri-halliwell style dress, all anybody talks about is what you were wearing. bjork – innovative, groundbreaking, earth-shattering dance/punk artist suddenly becomes an “Icelandic pixie” who once looked a bit like a swan. tori amos – rip your heart out and spit in your eye amazing – but she does sing about (wait for the slightly dubious eyebrow raise) feminist stuff. the music press really needs to grow up – as, it would appear, do i.

i guess i’m sharing my shame as i think its something worth thinking about. we don’t love our rock stars half so much if they’re well-adjusted with loving wives and kiddies – see Chris Martin – mocked for his hemp-wearing, eco-loveliness, but whose life reflects that of every self-satisfied music journalist. weraing our ironic t-shirts, we fall over ourselves for pete doherty, despite the fact that without carl barat he’s, frankly, bollocks live. fuck forever has to be one of the single most smugly juvenile songs ever written.

bah humbug - i remember the days when songs about getting wasted were good – and a darn sight more accurate - iggy pop “nightclubbing” anyone?

But how was madeleine peroux i hear you ask? her voice has a slightly harsher, more feline edge live, and she has one of the most fantastic relationships with her band – there’s no “look at me!” high jinks – each musician was pushed to the front for some great solos and it really was like watching a proper band. as a performance, it was quite relaxed, but of course, tight, polished without being dull and very very accomplished. as i have proved with this post, madeleine peroux
has more depth in the bottom of her coffee cup than i have in my entire body, soul, heart and mind.

and she is so, so, so, so, way, way, way better than katie *bloody* melua and nora *snoring* jones – please stop associating them, madeleine belongs with billie holiday and nina simone.

expensive wine, sublime evening.


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