‘Ladies and Gentlemen, I am your theatre!’ Paloma Faith at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh

Paloma Faith is well known enough now to draw in the crowds and even headline at a festival. Her performance at the Usher Hall included a 42 person orchestra, which proved to be the cherry on her creamy cake of a voice. As she stated during a break between songs, this is what music should sound like, not in a digital mp3 format or blaring through your laptop’s tinny speakers from YouTube. An orchestra allows every instrument to complement in its unique way, as they hit the notes in tune with the singer.

The crowd varied but were mostly over 50’s, which her music genre generally appeals to. The night began with Guy Barker and his orchestra warming the crowd with overtures of Paloma’s songs and individual songs from the talented backing singers. Guy Barker conducted them like Alan Titchmarsh pulling up his turnips. Well he looked like him but he was clearly talented with smooth control throughout.

Paloma came on for the second half and entered the stage with elegance. She looked like a musical figurine from a mantelpiece, as she swirled her large bushy red dress and bunched her ginger hair. She continued this style throughout, which complimented the music beautifully. She welcomed the audience by stating that she has come as their theatre in her Halloween costume. Her singing did sound a little shouty at times and a bit difficult to understand what she was saying. However, songs like ‘Just be’ moved everyone.

Her latter songs got more upbeat and it was great to see the over 50’s near the front starting to get up and clap. As this caught on, it was a shame that there wasn’t much room for dancers. At one point, a woman slowly walked towards Paloma with an open hand, which turned out to be the slowest high five I’ve ever seen but at least she went for it and wasn’t left hanging.

Paloma talked a little about her inspiration from Russell Brand’s recent rant with Jeremy Paxman about politics. I felt this wasn’t necessary for her to mention and probably wasn’t well received by the Usher Hall audience.

Overall, I’d recommend Paloma for all ages and I’m sure her music will mature further. No doubt future weddings will have ‘Just be’ as their first dance to get the family tears jerking.

Jon Exton

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