A technicolour dance party was in full swing when I walked into the Commodore. Brooklyn’s Midnight Magic was wooing the crowd with music that I can best describe as Space Funk. Heavy-duty bass-licks and soothing synthesizer effects were paired with singer Tiffany Roth’s powerhouse vocals. “It’s an honour to play for you guys,” Roth said to the Thursday night group of flailing limbs. With popular dance tracks, most notably the frequently remixed “Beam Me Up”, it’s not a surprise Midnight Magic had the dance floor bouncing up and down. Midnight Magic is nonstop grooves. Blues, yellows, and greens showered the crowd with bliss as the bubble in the middle of the floor shook to the beat. Instrumental boogies, a disco worthy of a headlining bill. One day, perhaps in the near future, we’ll be seeing Roth and her cast of Cosmic Funketeers return to Vancouver playing first fiddle.
“Are y’all ready for LA ROUX!?”
La Roux (real name Elly Jackson) picked up where Midnight Magic left off. She hit the stage sporting a silky shirt reminiscent of 80s Miami flair. Hair styled in her famous pompadour, Jackson turned up the heat and cranked up the energy. Towels were located all over the stage to aid the band in keeping dry. There was a weight in the air. Heavy with sweat. The keyboardist fanned herself stage right with a paper fan.
Jackson started the night with new track, “Let Me Down Gently”, featuring a new projection backdrop: palm trees with floor-to-ceiling speakers shaded in blue and twitching in and out of focus. The night focused mainly on La Roux’s latest record, Trouble in Paradise (2014) which took up the bulk up of the set (“Kiss and Not Tell”, “Sexotheque”, “Cruel Sexuality” , to name a few). Injected from 2009’s self-titled record were dance hits “In For the Kill” and “I’m Not Your Toy”. The set was relentless, providing 80s-inspired dance hit after the next. People from front to back, left to right were doing their best impressions of the famous Carlton dance from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Arms flailing and legs kicking out on each side.
One of the most noteworthy aspects of the concert was the energy coming from the dance floor. The set was well structured and Jackson was spot on. Her high-pitched warble sounded incredibly crisp all the way through. Yet it was the collective energy from the crowd that made the night such a success. The beauty of momentum. A great supporting set provided by Midnight Magic paved the way for La Roux to hit the stage running. It would have been incredibly hard for her to not build on the buzz already established. Even so, the band was tight; Jackson’s vocals were studio quality, and people were jiggin’ up a storm. La Roux, most of all after Thursday’s gig at the Commodore, has solidified herself as one of the best contemporary Britpop acts. The Grammy-winner left the Commodore with “Bulletproof” (with an extended jam tacked onto the end) and had people dancing all the way down the street back to the SkyTrain. Catchy, groovy, synth-filled songs: La Roux.