Lulu James at XOYO
Onstage at XOYO, vibrant support act Izzy Bizu ably warms up the stage before the lights go down and the bass line thumps as Lulu James’ band play the opening notes to Bittersweet. They are soon joined by the South Shields singer herself, who is wearing a Cat Woman-like mask, complete with whiskers. Prowling across the stage as she peers into the eyes of her adoring fans, it’s clear from the start we’re in for a compelling performance. Suddenly the XOYO club seems too small a venue to contain James’ immense swagger.
James’ brand of 21st-century soul is the music of the strong-willed. Even tracks such as single Be Safe, which lyrically touch on an underlining vulnerability, are delivered with a robust sense of self-reliance
What strikes you about James is the dynamism of her music. A song might stop on a dime or explode with little warning – making for an always-engaging sound.
James’ magnetic stage presence complements the music, fusing together in a forthright manner. When a lighting change splashes shadows across the stage, James is a silhouette of sexiness, gyrating and grinding to the music.
About mid-set James ditches the mask and adeptly converses with the crowd, who are more than willing to pledge allegiance to “love and support Lulu James, bitches. For life”.
All too quickly the set has almost drawn to a close, with even James seeming surprised to have reached single Step By Step so soon. Recent single Closer packs an extra punch live and ends with a roar as the band up the ante before closing out the evening with Halfway to Hell.
With a simple wave, James makes her way offstage to an eruption of applause. A short, sharp and sleek set; any non-believers in the audience are now surely converted.
Photo: Matt Horne
For further information and future events visit Lulu James’s website here.
Watch the video for Closer here: