Sweet dreams with Michelle and Róisín

roisinHOLY verbosity, scream insanity! All you ever gonna be is another great fan of me .. posting twice in the same week. Yes, it’s a veritable shit-storm of uninformed opinion, reckless conjecture and outright lies. What can I say? Buy an umbrella.

Me and the missus bought a couple of tickets for Róisín Murphy’s sold-out gig at the Academy on Friday night from one of Manchester’s army of charming ticket touts (“I’d give you a couple of quid back if I had any change,” he said as we handed over 40 quid for two £19 tickets) and had such a good time that I felt compelled to tell you all about it.

A thousand drunk girls with fascinators, all the gays in the world and us two, straight out of work, scream in unison at the appearance of La Murphy behind a chiffon curtain. She sings the whole of the first song, You Know Me Better, from behind that same curtain, upon which a succession of appropriately trippy, glam and kitsch images are projected.

Why isn’t this woman a popstar? I don’t get it. Am I missing something?

She’s got the loveliest voice you could ever imagine, she has an exquisite sense of style and a knack for finding collaborators (Mark Brydon, the Handsome Boy Modelling School, Matthew Herbert, Seiji) who come up with consistently groovy and interesting music for her to do her thing with – and she’s very easy on the eye too.

As my very glamorous, beautiful and astute girlfriend pointed out, she’s everything that Madonna wants to be but isn’t. Maybe she doesn’t want to be a popstar, who knows?

Throughout the course of an oddly sectional performance – complete with what seemed like a lengthy interlude halfway through – she plays material from Overpowered and Ruby Blue, as well as a couple of old Moloko tracks. Some of the quieter numbers are completely lost in the audience chatter.

She changes into a succession of ever-more outlandish outfits, tossing one of her trademark hats-with-faces backstage like a frisbee, easing into a fringed leather jacket before headbanging like crazy, before finally, hilariously, ending up in a stylish and chic cream leather straitjacket.

Fashion is supposed to be fun, after all. My favourite ensemble is a checked number with shoulder pads exaggerated into an actual deer form – though the outfit that looks like two blokes literally climbing all over her comes a close second.

I’m struck by the thought that the way she remains serene and supreme at the centre of a chaotic convergence of art, fashion, individuality and sexy electro-pop is very redolent of Grace Jones in her heyday – but Róisín is in a different league entirely.

“More anarchy next time,” she mutters as she walks offstage and we don’t know whether it’s an instruction or a promise. She comes back onstage and all becomes clear.

Go see her, buy her albums, make her a popstar – whether she wants you to or not.

I also wanted to let Manchester-based readers know about Street Dreams, “a story of community, unity and change” in the form of a hip hop musical theatre production. It marks the third and final year of Community Arts North West’s Urban Music Theatre Project, which aims to engage with both young people from asylum and refugee seeker backgrounds and born and bred Mancunians.

My fantastically talented friend Michelle Udogu is the project’s artistic director, so a) it’s going to be brilliant and b) you should prepare yourself for an all-singing, all-dancing extravaganza like you’ve never experienced before.

Street Dreams is at the Zion Arts Centre on Stretford Road in Hulme from Thursday 4 to Saturday 6 of December. For more information visit the Zion and CAN websites.

[Marvellous photo of Róisín by Shirlaine]

[And here’s a link to a proper review of the Róisín gig]


Filed under expletive undeleted, hyperbole

4 responses to “Sweet dreams with Michelle and Róisín

  1. Interesting review…excellent enthusiasm and use of smart-girlfriend wisdom! When you look at the lives of the really successful pop stars (and Madonna is a fairly good example) the benefits of staying less high profile become very, very clear. All the money in the world but all the bodyguards in the world too!

  2. undeleted

    Hmm. Where do you start with Madonna? The crap records? I really started noticing how bad they were around the time of Ray of Light – but then again, she’s done some great stuff since then. I wasn’t keen on the ‘English’ accent, the hunting, the council high rise comments and ridiculous get-off-my-landisms and all that Kabbalah shite, although you have to presume she’s left a lot of that behind now.

    I think what I mean is: Roisin has more talent in one bum cheek that Madonna has in her entire body, which may well explain why she’ll never be anywhere near as successful.

    Actually, I don’t know what point I’m trying to make here (v hungover).

    However rich and successful she becomes, Roisin just seems to have more integrity that Ms Ciccone and I simply can’t imagine the former ending up like the latter.

    Where’s that smart-girlfriend of mine when I need her?

  3. No one ever said Madonna’s greatest feature was her talent! I have liked some of the songs over the years, some of them are like milestones now almost, but she’s not someone I’ve ever wanted to see ‘live’ or indeed meet in the ‘flesh’. She is pop, pure pop, plastic pop…the material girl in every sense…except not really a girl anymore. Now Mariah Carey on the other hand… (JOKE!)

  4. undeleted

    You say it’s a joke ..

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