iTunes Festival 2014: Imelda May at Roundhouse
Appearing on stage in a tiger stripe dress with 50s rockabilly hair, May wowed the crowd with her deep, sultry voice and a set that, at its best, evoked the effortless cool of John Travolta and Uma Thurman’s famous dance scene in Pulp Fiction, or a black and white Jim Jarmusch film. This atmosphere was heightened all the more by the spectacular lighting of the venue and the fact that May’s band members all look and dress like Hollywood mobsters.
The second song Wild Woman was perhaps the highlight of the set, featuring driving guitars and a fierce vocal performance from May. On the more upbeat songs like this the singer belts her words with force, at times recalling Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
In spite of her Dublin roots May sings in an American accent, though in her case it’s a conceit that feels totally acceptable – to take another Dublin based example, rapper Reggie Snow could hardly spit his verses in his native accent and nor could May sing in hers. In the context of certain genres it just doesn’t work.
Certain songs dipped a little from the precedent set by the highlights – in particular It’s Good to be Alive, in which May got the audience to sing her lines back to her, complete with customised lyrics: “Oh my God it’s good to be alive at the Roundhouse…with iTunes!” Here the atmosphere came close to that of a pub singalong and the band’s retro sound became almost like a novelty act, albeit momentarily.
Overall the set was very good; the songs were fairly diverse and nearly always engaging and May stood out as a hugely confident and immensely talented performer.
Photos: Guifré de Peray
For further information about Imelda May and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Wild Woman here: