Live Music Reviews

Ladyhawke @ 100 Club, London

15 November 2011


It didn’t bode well. It boded badly. Being propositioned at the door – that happens a lot – you know how it is. But the questioning, the questioning was unusual.

Man at door: “Excuse me, are you from New Zealand?”
Me: “No.”
Man at door: “Oh.”

The disappointment in his voice was tangible. Remarkable. Unmistakable.

You’re going to judge me like that? Dismiss everything I may have achieved purely on Geography? Really? Maybe I’ve written masterpieces. Fair enough, bad example. Maybe I’ve painted chapels. Maybe I’ve saved millions. Maybe I’ve made millions.

OK, I haven’t, but that isn’t the point. I could have. I may have. But this is just assuming that any and every possible achievement can be summarily dismissed due to the fact that upon flushing the toilets in the hospital of my birth, the water would disappear down the plughole in the opposite direction.

Disappointment writ large, like an omen for the rest of the evening weighing me down like a backpack. With stones. Made out of lead. A metaphorical lead backpack full of stones of emotion, presented at the door, to wear for the rest of the evening.

The gig was disappointing. Ladyhawke was disappointing. Perhaps she also hadn’t had her life validated by the doorman from New Zealand. Had he asked her, he’d have got the affirmative response his plaintive sighs seemed to suggest he’d been longing for; confetti cannons would have been fired, bunting unfurled, a cake presented and a waddlepast of kiwis arranged.

It didn’t live up to expectations. Maybe they were too high. After all, first gig for two years, first airing of new songs – nerves were always destined to be rife, but the degree displayed here was still surprising.

Many of the negative points were environmental. The sound of the 100 Club was muddy and without definition. So the initial burst of new tracks, Blue Eyes and Anxiety, sounded a bit grungy and a bit flat.

But look. There were positives – the new songs weren’t awful. Quick And The Dead has both a wakka-wakka noise from a ’70s Blaxploitation film and a beat reminiscent of My Doorbell by The White Stripes. Black, White And Blue errs on the side of rockier than some, but is none the worse for it. In fact, nothing here was lacking potential, it just hadn’t quite fully bloomed yet.

It was also true that by the closing three songs she did seem a bit more settled. And thus the closing three songs, the aforementioned Black, White and Blue, Back of The Van and a brilliant My Delirium, were much, much better.

But overall, it was an unsteady return.

Although, maybe all of this is unfairly tarnished by the handing out those backpacks of colossal disappointment on the door.


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More on Ladyhawke
Ladyhawke – Wild Things
Ladyhawke – Anxiety
Interview: Ladyhawke
Ladyhawke @ 100 Club, London
Ladyhawke @ Scala, London