La Roux embarked on a longer North American leg of their current tour. The band, originally made up of lead singer Elly Jackson and producer Ben Langmaid, is now solely fronted by Elly and her touring musicians. The live band, which is made up of four additional musicians and backing vocalists, did a shorter tour at the beginning of the summer to promote the release of the sophomore album, Trouble in Paradise.
The title of the new album may appear to be an extension of a track regarding a romantic relationship, or perhaps just a theme with cool album cover visuals and elements. But in fact, the autobiographical title extends from the strained relations with Langmaid, who left the band during the recording of the album. Producer Ian Sherwin took over the project and the album was released on July 18th, 2014, five years after the successful debut.
Now back in the limelight with new content to promote, the band came to the Wonder Ballroom in Portland, Oregon with essentially what turned out to be one of the biggest dance parties I have ever witnessed.
The show did not include an opening act, but the wait for the nine thirty-something start was worth it.
“Let Me Down Gently” was used as the opener, this being the first release off the new album, and its melancholic instrumentals certainly opened the show at a demure level of energy.
“Uptight Downtown”, the official first single of the album, followed with lasers, lights, fog and a very hyperactive Jackson, who jumped around stage from side to side greeting fans and holding their hands.
Previous big hits “In For The Kill” and “Quicksand” made the crowd bounce and jiggle back-to-back.
“Growing Pains”, a bonus track from the debut album, was followed by “Sexotheque”, a new album track.
The frontwoman uttered outloud ‘it is so f**king hot’. She looked at some children in the audience and added ‘I’m not going to say that again…but seriously, why?’ The crowd agreed as the level of humidity in the very crowded space increased with every track as the dance romp elongated.
“Cruel Sexuality” was followed by “I’m Not Your Toy” once more piecing the two albums together like a delicious synth-pop sandwich.
Elly, who has previously discussed her open sexuality and the androgynous feel to her stage persona and name (La roux means red-headed male in French (as opposed to la rousse, for a female)), has fantastic stage presence.
Jackson bounces, dances, jumps whilst maintaining that special vocal sound the masses have come to know and love. In fact, everyone in the crowd was visibly infatuated by her. Adoring eyes followed her every move as she touched fans’ hands, lifted her microphone to hit the higher notes, and exposed her profile as the lights made her hair the focal extension of her visage.
At this point between songs, a fan, who previously was seen flirting with the bouncer closest to the stage, made her way onstage, as the bouncer mysteriously disappeared. The crowd reacted as if this was a possible winner of a contest or the like. However, Jackson’s signature snare and arched brow, which she joyfully sports as she sings and dances as well, told a different story.
She laughed it off, and allowed the girl to pose with her, before starting “Kiss and Not Tell”, their newest single release. The bouncer returned right after from backstage and after a few awkward exchanges with other venue workers, the show carried on smoothly.
“Tropical Chancer”, “”Colourless Colour” and “Silent Partner” finished the set as the band departed from stage.
The crowd, sweaty and eager for more, clapped and stomped their feet for minutes until the band returned. There was something obviously left to offer, but the band made the crowd wait once more. They performed “Tigerlily” and held a silent pose for at least two minutes before finishing the track which naturally led to their biggest hit, 2010’s US number-eight charter “Bulletproof”.
The track took almost a year to peak from the time of its release in the US. The track has sold over 2.4 million downloads in the US. The single reached the top of the Dance Chart and the singles chart in the UK.
The night was full of charisma, appreciation and passion. The crowd gave the band all of their energy, and vice versa. At the end, the audience clapped and hollered nonstop making the band appear to be humbled by the experience.
Films: Kumu Hina (documentary) : Southern Baptist Sissies, the movie : OFIR (documentary) : Ne Te Retourne Pas (short) : Halina (short) : EK (short) : Despite The Gods (documentary) : Materica (short) : Lawrence and Hollowman, the movie : No Strangers (documentary) : Meth Head, the movie : Echoes (short) : Titans of Newark (short) : A Cure (short) : Precious, the movie : This Is It (documentary)
Music: LP’s Forever For Now : Jason Mraz’s YES! : Austra’s Habitat : Birdy’s Fire Within : Melanie Martinez’s The Dollhouse : Peter Aristone’s 19 Days in Tetbury : Lykke Li’s I Never Learn : Neon Trees’ Pop Psychology : Rufus Wainwright’s Rufus Wainwright: Live from the Artists Den : Lily Allen’s Sheezus : Ingrid Michaelson’s Lights Out : Kelis’ Food : The Sounds’ Weekend : Austra’s Olympia : KENN’s We Killed KENN : VV Brown’s Samson & Delilah : Sammy Crawford’s Reality Sets In : Melanie C’s Stages : Madonna’s MDNA : Nelly Furtado’s Spirit Indestructible : CocoRosie’s “We Are On Fire” : Stephan Nance’s A Troubled Piece of Fruit
Videos: KENN’s “Still Pretty” : Christina Aguilera’s “Your Body” : Tom Goss’ “It’s All Over” : Eric Himan’s “Dust” : Scissor Sisters’ “Only The Horses”
Concerts: Lykke Li : Passenger : Ellie Goulding : The Sounds with Blondfire & Strange Talk : Natasha Bedingfield : Andy Grammer : Kate Voegele
Stand Up: Kevin J Thornton
Books: Out of the Past, by Jeffrey Ballam