LIVE REVIEW: AlunaGeorge, Scala, 21/6/16

Written by on June 23, 2016

The career of electro-pop duo AlunaGeorge took off like a firework. BBC Sound nominations, a hit track with Disclosure, festival bookings, you name it. But, like a Catherine wheel, their brilliant display didn’t seem to last long. At least by the here-today-gone-tomorrow standards of the modern dance-pop scene.

At this Scala comeback show for the ‘duo’ (loose term these days, what with George being AWOL on this solo tour) – their first London date in two years – singer Aluna Francis gave a promising tease of what’s come from the follow-up to 2013’s sublime Body Music.

Francis’s Estuary English tone gives her a sense of being dangerous and alluring at the same time. It’s a quality that comes across in opener Attracting Files, as she sings about facing down a two-faced lover. She bounded on stage to the track in a white, fur-lined coat, twirling and twisting with her two dancers. Picking up the pace with, funnily enough, the rhythmic celebration of the body in Supernatural, Francis cast off the garment as she sang with fish-netted knees and a million-watt smile. 

Forthcoming album, I Remember, is apparently about growth, and about “getting what you want as a woman”, Francis has said. But it is also about exes. Performing the album’s jittery title track gave a glimpse of a more melancholy singer than we have previously seen. That song and a new one, My Blood, are fragments of a more rounded singer, but the latter, though technically impressive, felt overblown.

Fortunately, Francis – even without George – still knows how to throw a party. Favourites like Your Drums, Your Love, Best Be Believing and of course White Noise heated up the room, as the singer dipped and dived with voice to clamber up and over the fizzing chiptune of electronic beats.

Another new track, Heartbreak Horizon, emphasised Francis’s female boss status as she commanded the stage. A cover of To Ü by Jack Ü’s Diplo and Skrillex was bold, but felt too much for Francis to confidently carry – perhaps this was practice for her festival stage hyping?

Francis rescued the end of the show with a mood-changing encore: Mediator, a sunset serenade that toned things back from the vocal leaps she’s used to performing, and brought her closer to the likes of Jessie Ware and Andreya Triana. So while it can’t be argued that AlunaGeorge’s sparkle faded all too soon, from what we’ve heard tonight their new material may well make it last a bit longer.

Words and photos: Aaron Lee


Source: Press Play OK LIVE REVIEW: AlunaGeorge, Scala, 21/6/16

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