1950s pop sensibities, 60s Motown, and 70s glam rock and punk all infuse the music of The Noisettes. They are contemporary and yet their songs are comfortingly familiar.
Singer Shingai Shoniwa dominates their live performances both in terms of her physical presence, vocal delivery and (rather impressively I thought) bass-playing skills.
Dressed in a glitzy party dress Shoniwa looked almost weighed down when the bass was first handed to her. For a singer whose vocal range often reaches the shrill it seemed entirely inappropriate that she should play an instrument whose range is towards the lower end of the musical register.
For much of the set she left the bass-playing duties to a band member who doubled as a roadie, freeing up the singer to prance and dance across the stage, straddle the drum kit, hang upside down from a rope ladder and venture to the back of the venue and serenade those who stood there.
‘Don’t Upset the Rhythm’ is probably The Noisettes best- known song, yet it was the second song in the set which suggests that they are a band who have confidence in their material and are aware that their lesser known songs are just as strong.
My personal favourite is ‘Never Forget You’ which somehow seems to combine the whimsical feel of a Ben E King song with a punk-driven guitar-style chorus.
The set was dominated by tracks from their second album although the encore was funky cover of ‘Children of the Revolution’ during which Shoniwa came off the stage and down through the audience to the back of the Vicar Street venue and then balanced on a barrier infront of the mixing desk. It was a crowd-pleasing move that endeared a besotted audience to her even more.
Guitarist Dan Smith impressed with some blistering guitar solos that wouldn’t have been out of place at a Thin Lizzy concert while the hairsuite drummer Jamie Morrison’s lashing around his kit put Animal (from the Muppets) to shame.