Show Review: La Roux at The Great American Music Hall, 10/18/09

by Raffi Youssoufian on October 21, 2009

La Roux

You had to wonder how much love was left for La Roux, going up against the Treasure Island Music Festival closing with The Decemberists and The Flaming Lips, just a few miles away on the very same night.  But all bets were off, because whatever it is that gets people started, whatever it is that makes your booty want to shake, and whatever it is that you can never quite put your finger on about an artist, La Roux has it.

The place was packed to the brim, overflowing with bubbly exuberance in love with this stylish English import with a French name and a blazing voice.  But before she came on, the opener, Silver Swans, the new project of San Francisco’s own favorite indie dream-gazer rockers LoveLikeFire’s Ann Yu, put forth a fantastic set.  Lost somewhere in the middle of moody soundscapes, dark beats, maybe The Knife, and the genuineness of Everything But the Girl, you’ll find Silver Swans swimming around, with striking percussion and an ethereal voice ready to take us by storm.

After a very unusual, suspense building, five minute silence with the lights down, La Roux appeared to an explosion of cheers.  I was thoroughly amazed by the huge reception she received, only because she really had just appeared in our consciousness this past year.  I had no clue who she was when she faux-hawked her way on stage and tore it up at Popscene on her first trip to the states this spring.  But she’s gained a lot of steam since then and apparently a lot of fans.

In a pinkish red 80s style coat, she asked us to bear with her as she just got her voice back recovering from an illness.  Her steadfast position of not wanting to cancel the show gave the crowd every more reason to want to show her some love.  So with half her voice, she jumped into song after song, belting and hitting notes that most can’t get to with a healthy voice.  The place erupted into dance as she told the crowd, “I’m not your toy.”  The band,  energetic as well, played a standing real/electric drum set, laptop, and a multitude of synths.  When she announced she had two songs left and launched into “In for the Kill,” everyone did the same and started dancing even more, knowing they had to squeeze out every last drop of fun left during this shortened set.

There is a sincerity in her voice that you can feel, where you know what she’s singing about isn’t just some bouncy track for the sole purpose of getting you to dance.  Talking to a few people at the show, they were specifically enamored of not only the music but connecting the emotion in her voice and the lyrics to the songs, and what it has meant to them.  She really has seemed to leap her way into fans’ hearts.  And if you combine that with giving people a reason to dance; well, you might as well give up your money now, because La Roux will win that bet every time.

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