The devoted crowd are in nice and early this evening awaiting the arrival on stage of the enigmatic Alison Goldfrapp.
Never one to under-dress she arrives on-stage barefoot in a silky piece of nightwear, with ‘wings’ (best description you’re going to get from a bloke I’m afraid), a far cry from the dominatrix gear of a few years back but in keeping with the sleepy folk-tinged sound of latest album ‘Seventh Tree’. It is in this subtle manner that things begin, with a couple of gentle slow-burning tracks, on which the fragile and haunting vocals show the lead-lady capable of the kind of range Portishead’s Beth Gibbons displays.
For the first half of the gig the band move back and forth between these quieter songs and more up-tempo electro tracks, with standouts in the former category being ‘A&E’ and ‘Caravan’; the latter ‘Train’ and ‘Fly Me Away’.
If there was one complaint about this evening’s performance it would be that the shift from folk to glam-disco and back again occasionally felt klunky. But with music this good and a band this competent such minor quibbles are easily forgotten.
The band, it has to be said, are also interestingly dressed in resplendent white Clockwork Orange-like outfits. But despite their attire, the psychedelic kaleidoscope lights and the grinning energetic performance of band co-founder Will Gregory, the star of the show remains the diminutive diva front of stage.
Alison Goldfrapp seems to move effortlessly, both in vocals and performance, between small and fragile on the softer material, and big and domineering on the pulsating disco tunes. Although she does little in the way of engaging directly with the crowd there is no doubt that she holds all before her spellbound.
The encore proves to be the icing on the cake as a spine-tingling ‘Black Cherry’ leads in to the slinky electro-stomp of ‘Strict Machine’ and sends a warm, satisfied crowd their separate ways in to the night, still very much under the spell of this most ethereal of performers.