Live Music + Gig Reviews

Ali Love + Ida Maria @ Notting Hill Arts Club, London

27 September 2007


The bar is crammed, the air sticky and the oxygen is running out. People are stacked up together, close enough to share body odours and their minds linked together in pre-show anticipation.

YoYo is an eclectic night that offers an ‘all you can eat for a fiver worth’s smorgasbord’ of music styles and tastes. But after the Libertines-esque, Janis Joplin streaked Ida Maria‘s gig it feels like we already had more than we could digest.

Entering the stage is a Kate Nash look-alike with a cute little dress and a delicate look. Appearances can deceive. Small talking confidently, Norwegian-born Ida Maria slits open a wound of awe as soon as she starts with her kick-ass rock.

The fringe-fronted singer launches into Better When You’re Naked with her guitar as a mere extension of her arms and the lyrics with the cheeky line: “I love you better when you are naked, I love me better when you are naked.” The guitar and bass player move in on the pixie singer until they all stand in an oily, electric embrace.

The debut single Oh My God builds up into a crescendo of stomping guitar riffs with Ida entangled in the microphone wire, laying, gasping for air on the floor before jumping off for a last, exhilarating shout.

She turns into a black hole that sucks everything in, including us. We’re left standing like empty shells, interiors filled only with her music. What a gig.

Next on stage is already revered east Londoner Ali Love and his band The Lovers. From the start Ali’s controlling beats tear down all resistance and create an urge to roll down on the floor and get down and dirty. Fluorescent lights play a confusing game on the walls and give extra strength to Ali’s funked-up, Calvin Harris-ish, 21st-century dance cabaret. He’s got charisma and confidence on stage, giving his music a buoyancy to float out into the crowd and seep into their veins.

Ali Love’s new single Secret Sunday Lover is an undisputed highlight and gets a royal reception, as does the electrified ShangriaLa, Roch N Roll Control and the captivating Late Night Session.

The club is baking (it always is) but the Brahma-glugging crowd is just getting started. When Ali urges bouncing, the crowd obediently comply. The party continues long into the night. These two acts made converts.


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Ali Love + Ida Maria @ Notting Hill Arts Club, London