Concert Review: La Roux at the House of Blues in Boston, MA
La Roux Rating:
House of Blues
November 15, 2010
Reviewed by: Sally Feller
Elly Jackson’s voice is insane. The end.
Okay, I’ll write the review La Roux deserves. I’m a big fan of good electro-pop and electronic music in general. However, it often seems as if the electro genre takes a beating from music fans and critics—perhaps because some of it’s just highly over-produced keyboard sounds and a cardboard voice. So when a band like La Roux crops up on the airwaves and in the clubs, they get such a windfall of much-deserved attention. Jackson isn’t the only piece of La Roux, in fact she’s only 50% of the band, with her partner, Ben Langmaid makes up the other half—unseen in music videos and on-stage.
If you haven’t heard of or seen La Roux and Jackson before, think a miniature Tilda Swinton with a more chipper smile. She seems like a tiny little thing on stage, but Jackson captivated everyone there with a naturally strong voice. The music could be summed up, perhaps at the risk of slighting the band, as a throwback to 80s acts like The Human League and Erasure…the fact that two of them were wearing blazers with shoulder pads and scrunched up sleeves furthered the Robert Downey, Jr./James Spader comparisons.
So, onto the performance itself: Jackson mentioned during the show that her favorite song was “Tigerlily” and I have to whole-heartedly agree. If you’ve only heard “Bulletproof” and want to hear the artist’s favorite, have a listen here. There are also some amazing remixes of “I’m Not Your Toy” available on YouTube with a quick search…well worth it. I was surprised that the slower song “Armour Love” worked so well on a stage as large as House of Blues, following a series of super high-intensity electro/synthpop acts, but the song holds up thanks to the powerful vocals and the driving, albeit slower, beat.
Live music has the very high potential of turning a band you loved into a band you don’t even like anymore, due to the ability to make mediocre music sound emphatically polished in a studio…those flaws stand out like a zebra trying to hang out with palominos in a live setting. Having only heard a few songs before seeing La Roux live, my expectations were “hesitantly hopeful” (You see, since her self-titled album is electro-pop, I knew how easy it was for mediocre vocalists to get by on a catchy beat) —and those expectations were happily not only met, but rocketed into oblivion.
Another thing I didn’t expect from the performance was the lack of any major visual effects. On the other hand, the tiny songstress, a keyboardist, and a drumset really focused the audience on the vocals.
The only possible downside to the La Roux performance was that it was so short…they only held the stage for 45 minutes, after three opening acts. I realize there isn’t a ton of material yet that they can perform, but I (and the audience surrounding me) clearly wanted more.
Here’s hoping Elly Jackson doesn’t change and start trying to look like all the other young pop starlets out there, but I’d be shocked if she caved into it. The androgynous, awesome Dairy Queen-styled hair is totally working. Don’t Heidi Montag-it up, please, or I’ll have to pull this review in protest.
View our full photo gallery from the show here