Live Music + Gig Reviews

Saint Saviour @ XOYO, London

7 June 2011

Saint Saviour has been working hard at becoming, well, Saint Saviour. Having previously fronted electro-pop girl group The RGBs and gone on to tour as lead vocalist of Groove Armada, one might assume that the electro route might be the most obvious choice for Becky Jones to take in establishing herself as a solo artist. But she delivers a rather large shunt between upbeat rock tinged electro and standard melancholic girl-at-piano. Both work well, but are let down on occasion by a clunky transition through the dreaded territory of beige.

What can’t be denied is Saint Saviour’s glaring vocal talent. Wacky dance moves aside, Jones has the kind of voice that can and will move people. While she has great control over her range of impressive highs and lows, she retains a slightly self-deprecating stage banter which keeps the performance grounded.

Jones’ songwriting is good – just poppy enough to be catchy but just edgy and intricate enough to keep things interesting. There are a few slip ups into mediocrity, the main culprit being Red Sun Rise; a rather clichéd number with its bows and rather obvious ‘let’s make this Asian’ sound.

Yet all faith is then restored when she performs tracks such as This Ain’t No Hymn and Birdsong, which come across as being both deeply personal, and yet at the same time totally accessible and inclusive of the audience, who lap them up with reckless abandon. Even in her dark moments with sparse instrumentation the audience is very much involved in the performance, as on tracks like Fallen Trees and Reason, the latter being a particular stand out.

The band were competent, only let down by a poor sound mix on occasion, and in fact the backing vocals were at times so low in the mix that they needn’t have been there at all, only really being able to be heard on the piano based tracks. This bad sound quality also affected the support act, Copenhagen four-piece When Saints Go Machine, who gave a great performance even while front man Nikolaj Manuel Vonsild’s vocals were muffled to the point where no actual words could be heard. Here was a band with rather catchy tunes.

While the stage décor was just a little bit odd – there was a lot of tin foil and a large skull with peacock feathers poking out the top – but this was countered by some rather good lighting choices. Who doesn’t love giant lightbulbs, after all? In all, this was an agreeable evening that showcased Saint Saviour’s phenomenal vocals and her ability to write rather good songs.

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More on Saint Saviour
Saint Saviour – Tomorrow Again
This Music Made Me: Saint Saviour
Saint Saviour – In The Seams
Saint Saviour – Union
Saint Saviour @ XOYO, London