Live Review

Lorde, Madame JoJo’s, London

She sports the kind of all-conquering confidence that shuns chatter & furrowed brows.

Photo: Abi Dainton
‘People will talk, yeah, people will talk’. The timing of the closing line in Lorde’s final song seems pretty calculated. This is the New Zealand chart-topper’s debut UK show. There’s a strange occasion filtering around Madame Jojo’s, from fevered fans at the front to folded arms at the very back. The constant ‘whoops’ and rapturous applause can’t hide the fact that ahead of Ella Yelich O’Connor’s debut album release, this feels like some kind of fucked-up audition.

But what does Lorde have to prove, exactly? She’s hit the heights of every chart in sight with ‘The Love Club’, ‘Tennis Court’ and latest single ‘Royals’. She strides on stage in all-black with the kind of all-conquering confidence that shuns the chatter, the furrowed brows that cram into this stuffy London venue.

‘Why aren’t you dancing? This is bullshit,’ she quips at one stage. Forget the ‘potential’ bollocks. Lorde’s already a fully-fledged superstar, and she’s making sure people damn well know about it.

Everything about this show feels rehearsed, from the set closer to all that preceded it. ‘If there was a fire in here, everyone would fucking die’ she jokes at one point. That moment aside, she eyes up the crowd, cuts and coils to the sound of layered vocals and trap beats that so confidently back her lead role. Exactitude sets the agenda. This could work as a double-edged sword; accusations of falsity could run amok. But by the time ‘A World Alone’ filters out and Ella semi-storms off stage with not so much as a second glance, it simply confirms that she’s 100% cut out for the big time.

Most of this comes down to the songs themselves. ‘Ribs’ is a gorgeously lifting single in waiting, while ‘Royals’ receives at least three rounds of applause, each one more hysteric than the last. ‘Tennis Court’ falls slightly flat - hence the ‘why aren’t you dancing?’ accusations - but besides the eerie, judging atmosphere, that’s the only downfall.

If a good chunk of the crowd are merely holding out for an ‘I was there’ moment, Lorde provides it. Imagining this set being played to audiences 100 times the size comes naturally. With grace, good intentions and goodness knows how much confidence, there’s pretty much nothing that’ll stop this newcomer from outgrowing the ridiculous hype.

Tags: Lorde, Features

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