Show Review: La Roux, io echo at Cafe du Nord, July 22nd

by Dakin Hardwick on July 24, 2009


The secret to this hairdo? 1 part mousse, 1 part hairspray, 1 part gel, 1 part wax, and a mysterious secret ingredient that she wouldn't give me...

In this economy, it’s rare for shows to sell out, especially well in advance. Even some of the most hyped acts are playing to 2/3 empty rooms.  So how did La Roux sell out Cafe du Nord so far in advance? Was it based on Glastonbury reports? Is it her sophisticated style and well crafted hooks? Or was it the $12 ticket price?

Well, I don’t think there is an easy to answer to that question. I showed up to the show at 7:50, and the show was scheduled to begin at 8 pm. At this moment, there were 10 other people in the venue. The support act, io echo came on at about 8:15 to a room that was still pretty empty. They looked like The Ramones had Patti Smith on vocals, and played a sluggish form of hard rock, mixed with a little bit of disco. They were pretty uninteresting, until they played a cover of The Beatles song “I Want You (She’s So Heavy),” which was pretty bar-band generic, but the familiarity peaked my interest. Then they played a song called “Doorway,” which is featured in a Sprint ad, and I really liked the song in the ad. I was happy to finally know who did the song, but I still think that they were pretty underwhelming.

The venue started to fill up. Maybe everyone else knew not to come for the opener. Or maybe people can’t afford to buy drinks. Or maybe everyone that can afford to go to shows are working unpaid overtime and couldn’t leave work til after 8. Any way you look at it, people were showing up, and were ready to have fun. I even found the best vest ever in the audience:

Made from a classic official Aladdin comforter. And it was super awesome

Made from a classic official Aladdin comforter. And it was super awesome

La Roux came on stage at 9:30 pm. This was exactly one half-hour after the opener finished. And vocalist Elly Jackson apologized to the crowd for “taking so long to set up.” If only every performer had such a respect for the audience! There was a definite humility expressed by the band that is very rare in pop music.

Elly’s voice seemed a bit more restrained live than on record. The album is pretty much pure dance-pop, but the live show seemed to me almost trip-hop. Many of the songs were song as a whisper, but it didn’t detract from the show. In fact, I think a traditional reading of the record may have made a less interesting show.

I truly enjoyed how the crowd seemed to hang on every word and move, and the performance, although a bit restrained, was still immensely entertaining. She connected to the audience, and mentioned many times that she seemed surprised by the number of people there. As the set progressed, the music began to get a little bit faster, and a little more intense. Elly also started moving about a bit more, and the show began to get much more intense. It was great, because you didn’t realize how hard you were dancing, and by the end of the set, everyone was sweaty & dancing up a storm. By the time she hit the triple header of “In For The Kill,” “Fascintation,” and show closer “Bulletproof,” it was an all-out rave as opposed to the calm of the beginning.

Check out this video, and you’ll see exactly what I mean:

Photos by Carla Deasy

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Glo July 24, 2009 at 2:02 pm

Couldn’t disagree with your review more and I was there. Sorry.


Dakin Hardwick July 27, 2009 at 3:43 pm

What makes you say that?


Carla Deasy November 11, 2009 at 9:12 pm

Just reading this review now and I was your photographer (who didn’t get credits, by the by) and I really love this review. I was right back there with you dancing my balls off. Oh yeah, and taking pictures.


Gordon Elgart November 11, 2009 at 11:47 pm

Is this a passive-aggressive way of asking for photo credit? I think it’ll probably work on me.


Carla Deasy November 11, 2009 at 11:55 pm

What?! Hmmm… no.


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