Paloma Faith performing her Perfect Contradiction Tour at The Royal Concert Hall Nottingham on Wednesday 12th November 2014


Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

You always know that when Paloma Faith comes to town, fun is not that far behind her. And when her juggernaut rolled into The Royal Concert Hall, we were all treated to a hip shaking, phenomenal show, which wowed both old and new fans alike.

Whilst it may not have been intentional, because as we all know, this flame haired songstress does like to shock, her set was the epitome of sheer class. The colour theme was neutral and as Faith was joined on stage by an impeccably dressed and incredibly talented eleven piece band, we were taken back to an old time jazz club. In fact the only source of any colour was Faith’s vibrant green dress and her silver high heeled shoes, making her the focal point for the entire evening.

Performing to a sold out crowd, she took her fans from a 1920’s night club to a Broadway musical, ending the set in a gospel church. She took to the stage and launched straight into Take Me, and from that moment on she had this audience in the palm of her hand. Picking Up The Pieces got the captivated crowd up out of their seats and singing along, before Mouth To Mouth was given a sensual rendition.

Even though it was only last week when she had to postpone some of her concerts due to ill health, you would never have known because for this performance she was on top of her game. She is an old fashioned sort of star, with a souped up cabaret quality and who isn’t shy of speaking to her audience.

Explaining that she is re-releasing her album, A Perfect Contradiction for Christmas with four extra songs and 45 minutes from her Royal Albert Hall performance, she assures us that it is not because she is “a bloody con artist”. Instead she describes the original release as an “unfinished dinner, where you really enjoy the meal but your plate gets taken away too quickly” leading to a “happy compromise” by adding new material. To be honest, the jury is still out on that explanation.

Faith has a nice ear for melody and a smart turn of phrase. She sounds like a one woman Phil Spector girl-group on Taste My Own Tears and does a slack, jazzy soul turn on Other Woman. It may be nothing new, but her punchy, uplifting set of pastiche sixties and seventies soul, R ‘n’ B and disco is perfectly pitched with just an appealing hint of exaggeration.

After proclaiming her admiration for support act, Brett Dennen, she invited the bare foot Californian on stage for a moving duet, covering Van Morrison’s Crazy Love.

New single, Ready For The Good Life was very well received, whilst Trouble With My Baby is an old school jazz sound which came complete with star turns from each band member; the three vocally perfect backing singers shinning the brightest.

She returned with a strong encore consisting of a vocally rearranged performance of Changing, before delivering a gospel version of Tina Turner’s River Deep, Mountain High. Informing us that she will be back in Nottingham at The Capital FM Arena early next year, she finished the set with I Just Can’t Rely On You, which sent this crowd home with a huge smile on their face.

I was fortunate to have seen Paloma Faith in October of last year guesting with the Guy Barker Orchestra at The Royal Concert Hall. On that occasion she was the epitome of sereneness and class. In tonight’s performance she was definitely more of a wild cat, so what the Arena will bring just makes the mind boggle. What can be said is that regardless of where she performs, her costumes are kitsch, her sets perfect and her onstage banter is comfortable. These are all perfect accompaniments to her retro-inspired brand of mischievous pop.