Kat Vipers doesn’t belong here. It’s Thursday night at Madame Jojo’s, Glitz night, which normally means electro, oddity and no space for a classical meets jazz meets Bjork sound.
The Femme Fatales theme is a bizarre one to find Vipers in; Greek-born, classically trained, a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music and the Ecole Normale in Paris, and boasting a disordered sound not far away from Diamanda Galas. A grander stage is apropos. Maybe the Barbican with a 60-piece orchestra, though tonight it’s been booked by that Joanna Newsom, tsk.
You feel for Kat Vipers. She has six people bothering to stand and is drawing quizzical stares from those lounging waiting for her to move on. She soldiers on, you can almost see the heartbeat of nerve / frustration scrawl itself across her face.
On her EP, Summer Bloody Time, which was financed by the Arts Council of England, there is a good balance between her and her band, but on stage this evening they simply drown her out. More accurately her drummer washes her out. They limber up for the less frantic numbers, notably the creepy Freak, but in a short 20 minute set, it does little to hold the attention of a half full Soho hole.
Her stronger moments, the manic Pearls of Wisdom and Queen Bee, are rushed and do little to suggest that her and the band are road ready. If you wandered in here after stumbling down the sleazier side of Soho, as many do, your first impression might be to leave. A fair few did. So why stay?
Possibly because there is something quite special about her. She belongs onstage in performance capacity. Take away the keyboard, or let someone else take care of it, and let the real Kat Vipers spread those dark glittered fairy wings protruding from her costume. Colourful and robust, a Viper should never be underestimated, especially a young one.