HMV Picture House, Edinburgh, Fri 19 Feb 2010
Since toning down the indie with their poppier second album Wild Young Hearts, The Noisettes have achieved chart success; appealing to a wider audiences and playing to bigger, more boisterous crowds. Tonight was no exception. At first glance the venue looked like it was hosting a trade convention for hen parties, with large groups of glammed-up tipsy girls swapping snaps.
Finally the stage lights, revealing a golden backdrop reminiscent of an older, classier era; and two sexy, soulful backing singers start to sway to the funky grooves. Shingai Shoniwa arrives, fulfilling the role of the consummate pop star; gorgeous, sexy, instantly charismatic with a powerful voice to match. She’s the epicentre of the entire performance, drawing the crowd in like an alluring sprite and cavorting around the stage with carefree abandon. Soon, it's time to funk things up as the crowd are treated to an early, yet eagerly-anticipated, blast of the energetic, bop-inducing ‘Don’t Upset the Rhythm (Go Baby Go)’.
Halfway through their set, guitarist Dan Smith and the backing singers continue to up the ante while Shoniwa sneaks off, only to reappear in a super slinky electric blue hotpant jumpsuit and keeping the energy high by busting out a cover of Diana Ross’ ‘Chain Reaction’, provoking a mass sing-along from the Friday night crowd.
The gig climaxes with Shoniwa scaling the balcony to offer a heartfelt rendition of ‘Atticus’. Draped over the upper circle to the delight of the crowd below, her voice is as sweet and evocative as strawberries and cream.
The Noisettes may not be the most critically respected of acts, but they sure know how to throw a party, and sometimes good times are far more important than musical snobbery.