Estelle @ ABC Glasgow (5 stars)

Seen on Monday 9 June


Anybody who witnessed, no, anybody who experienced the vivacity of Estelle in Glasgow last night will not be surprised to discover that the American-produced British success story of 2008 is not new to the circuit.

In fact, as she explains following the horn-filled pulsating ‘Just a Touch’ opener, she’s been working on her (otherwise termed) stuff for four years. And my, oh my, in those four years the lady’s had some drama.

Her gig reads like a storybook of her loves laboured and lost. Don’t be fooled by the smooth soulfulness of her voice and laid-back tempo of her hip-hop, however, because these aren’t tear-filled laments. Estelle whips up the crowd as she belts her independent women anthems with as much vigour and style as her canary yellow shift dress, power pumps and push up bra demand.

She tells us that we’d better be ready to two-step our way home. And we don’t need much convincing. The on-stage dance-off between backup singers and band members to a testimonious DJ set that pays tribute to the hip-hop greats of yesterday and today sets the room alight with energy.
Estelle then urges us to go back to the ‘80s . . . and we go with her, anywhere she wants to take us. This isn’t a gig, this is Estelle’s party and we’re all invited to share in her celebration of her new-found mass recognition.

Not short of a humorous anecdote, a flirtatious gesture, a gut-busting rap or some shape-shifting vogues, Estelle connects with a realness lacking in many of her contemporaries. So quit the comparisons. Estelle is a performer in her own right and, unlike some of today’s bare-all songstresses, her warrior-like stance says she can handle it.


Over-14s show. Comeback soul and R&B queen who abandoned these shores to collaborate with some big US names on her new album but still retains a modern UK urban sound.


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