New Band of the Day Live – review

Barfly, London

Few Camden showcase gigs can boast a guestlist including Bob Geldof, Tribes and Bill Oddie, but few Camden showcase gigs are as diverse as this third instalment of the live offshoot from Paul Lester's new music column for the Guardian website. If previous events including Summer Camp, Big Deal and Bos Angeles have evinced the column's ear-to-the-rail underground edge, tonight proves its ability to spot the natural born arena-filler.

Not that many of tonight's acts are particularly spotlight-fresh. The singer of Violet, for instance, is one Pixie Geldof, chasing the British Lana del Rey dollar right down to the pout-country balladry, designer cowgirl threads and stilted stage persona. She impresses with the occasional lusty soul wail that suggests her lungs are being operated by off-stage bellows, but the Del Rey authenticity debate rages afresh. There's no such air of contrivance around the Magic Numbers' Michele Stodart, who's predictably taken the trad-folk solo route, edge-free and heavy on the heartbreak, but somehow more charming than her previous cheesy hippy pop.

BIGkids are the keg-keepers of tonight's mainstream mashup. Clad in a Burger King crown, singer Rosie Oddie – daughter of Bill – rattles through a set of party pumpers that take in northern soul, ragga pop, Ting Tings-style disco, stadium rock and a song called Coming Together that's full of bad-sex sax. They're far more fun than the night's big hit Josh Kumra, already a No 1 star after his appearance on Wretch 32's Don't Go, but a singer-songwriter so drenched in plastic soul and catch-all romantic platitudes he might as well dress as a Brit award.

As Angel closes the evening with an arena-ready set of R&B that neatly straddles the chasm between Taio Cruz and radio AOR , tonight's NBOTDL proves that in a time of industry uncertainty, safety sells. Next time, the new agendas.

Contributor

Mark Beaumont

The GuardianTramp

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