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ATP! Live Review: La Roux - The Showbox Seattle, WA (09/19/2014)

You know what I can honestly do without? Opening acts. Sure, they might be decent and might get a blurb on Pitchfork for nine minutes; but as of September 19th, 2014 I will never be the same about them. La Roux not only began their Friday night show on time, they also came on stage immediately. No opening acts, no DJ’s, and no circus cats; one minute I walked in to the venue and the next I was six feet from Elly Jackson.
Since La Roux’s sophomore release Trouble in Paradise hit record shops, it has been rather silent from their camp. It’s safe to say Trouble in Paradise didn’t have the same exposure as their gigantic debut, so it caused be to go in to the show with a-bit-more-than-average expectations (because let’s face it, everybody likes ‘Bulletproof’).  But they were not met.

They were exceeded. Beyond exceeded. I had forgotten that you can merge bass and vocals harmoniously when you actually take your time at sound check. I could actually hear Jackson over the sea of drums and synths in ‘Let Me Down Gently.’ At first it seemed like an odd number to open with, but then I remembered something important: La Roux bleeds 1980’s. And what is the most iconic thing about 1980’s pop kids? Bombastic drums and driving synths.

Case and point from the group immediately diving in to ‘Fascination’ and ‘Kiss and Not Tell.’ The group wasted no time as they got every functionally drunk person in the Showbox dancing in no time. Probably because Jackson was grabbing audience members by the hand to serenade each of them, which was a nice change of pace after seeing what current pop-stars call “stage presence”.

Even with nonstop dancing not only could Jackson hit her high notes, but she also managed to keep her Aquanet’d hair in place the whole time (literally, it could not go flat). But back to the show, what also surprised me about the show were Jackson’s vocals. It’s so weird that the thing she’s most criticized for is her piercing falsetto. It would be a problem for me if she weren’t able to replicate it live. But after hearing ‘Quicksand’ and ‘In For The Kill’ in the flesh, there’s no denying that Ms. Jackson got a range!

Which brings me to the shining moment of the night; ‘In For The Kill’ in the flesh. Continuing the theme for the night, there was no warning. No pre-song banter, no buildup, just a sudden rush of excitement as the glittery synths and kick drums filled the room. This was a complete example of a crowd-pleaser. This point in the show treats us to the intimate tracks on the album with acoustic strumming and piano melodies. But that’s not La Roux’s style. ‘In For The Kill’ was probably the most energy packed moment of the night from both Jackson’s dance moves and vocals as well as the well dressed twinks who attended.

The rest of their set was basically the rest of Trouble in Paradise that they hadn’t played yet, which was nice to hear since most of the tracks are bass-driven. ‘Silent Partner’ gets most of my praise only because I’m a sucker for seven-minute bass lines.

After ending the regular set with ‘Tigerlily’ and exiting the stage, the crowd and I stood with our heads tilted in wonder at what La Roux could possibly play next. Sure enough, the high school freshman in me got to experience that one song I couldn’t, and didn’t want to, escape.

I say “that one song” very lightly. After that night, La Roux proved that they have much, much, MUCH more to offer than just ‘Bulletproof.’ It really was kind of sad that people don’t get to see acts like La Roux more often, since they really should have been playing somewhere bigger. All I hope for is that someone on their record company puts more effort in to them to give the group the publicity they deserve.

Words by Jordan Wyman

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