Whoever decided to book Ida Maria for her debut headline gig in Sheffield at Sheffield University’s Fuzz Club really should have a bit of a talking to given to them.
For a start, it’s the end of May. Whichever students that are still around the city at the end of May are concentrating on getting as drunk as humanly possible. Secondly, the Fuzz Club traditionally doesn’t open its doors till at least 9.30pm. So it was that, after a rather uninspiring support act from local band The Chartists, the Norwegian singer skipped onto stage at 11.45pm to a venue that was, to put it kindly, half-full and a bit apathetic.
It’s a shame, because if anyone deserves to be playing to venues that are jam-packed with the sweat pouring off the wall, it’s Ida Maria. She pours her very soul into being on stage, leaping about everywhere, throwing the traditional rock star shapes and cooking up all manner of sexual tension with not only her guitarist but her bass player as well.
With bobbed black hair, denim shorts and ankle boots combination and the interesting fashion choice of a top hat perched atop her head, Ida is certainly a cult star in the making (a notion confirmed by the small gaggle of gooey-eyed girls and boys gathered at the front of the stage). Although her set was inevitably a short one, she did show some encouraging signs of having some songs that deliver on this promise.
Queen Of The World and Drive Away My Heart are both gems of pop songs, enlivened no end by Ida’s throaty, sensual croak of a voice, recalling both Bjork and PJ Harvey at times. The undoubted highlight tonight was the superb Stella, the original tale of God giving the world away to a 43 year old hooker from New York, featuring a truly terrific vocal performance towards the end.
She can do the slower numbers too, as proved by Leave Me Let Me Go and Keep Me Warm, the latter of which has already been featured on US hospital drama Grey’s Anatomy. Only occasionally does she drift into dirge territory, as on the forgettable Forgive Me.
It’s when she’s allowed to let rip, as Better When You’re Naked and especially set closer Oh My God demonstrated. Watching her racing around the stage, throwing her top hat on the floor and knocking over nearly every microphone stand still on the stage, it’s clear that she’s a performer of rare charisma.
It was just a shame that such an energetic performance was watched by such a lacklustre audience. Next time she’s in Sheffield, she’ll hopefully be playing to a more receptive venue.