Gig review: Paloma Faith, Glasgow Academy

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It WAS the kind of relentlessly rainy night in Glasgow where plans to wear your best gladrags might go out the window.

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So God bless Paloma Faith, one of our more colourful pop stars, for always being ready for her close-up.

For once, the flash of camera phones at a gig seemed entirely appropriate as Faith took to the stage looking like an old school movie star in a glamorous sculptural gown and threw some elegant shapes, physically and vocally, on Let Your Love Walk In.

Faith is undoubtedly a talented singer, capable of delivering some challenging melodic leaps on her opening run of would-be melodramatic ballads, the best of which by far was her cover of INXS’s Never Tear Us Apart.

The trouble is that Faith herself tends to outshine her repertoire, especially since she swapped the perky jazz-influenced material of her debut for the glossy but generic pop fare of follow-up Fall To Grace, such as the dreary 30 Minute Love Affair.

She had the lung-power to convince as a dancefloor diva on the club track Blood Sweat and Tears, but her tone, not to mention her impish personality, was altogether more suited to the bubbly Cotton Club pastiche of Upside Down and the gospel throwdown of Freedom, even if the latter was trying a bit too hard to imitate any number of classic rhythm ’n’ blues songs.

Support act Josephine Oniyama – or just Josephine for pop purposes – offered a less ritzy, more organic take on retro soul, delivered in troubadour style. Her rich contralto was distinctive – comparisons to Joan Armatrading are not far off the mark, but South African diva Letta would be even closer – and her own rhythm guitar playing was nicely complemented by subtle electric fretwork from an accompanying guitarist.