Backstage With Little Boots – “I Was Built To Entertain”

I’ve got aspirations to puppet pop-hating feminism that my ears just won’t support me on. It’s taken me four years to get over the fact that I like Girls Aloud when their success relied on nice frocks and Louis Walsh having a hand up each of them.

And then someone started shoving their pretty Little Boots in my face as though they were already size 12s before she’d even released anything. Nothing annoys me more than marketing that says “look, she’s pretty, therefore you’ll like her music”. I wanted to hate her just to waste all the cash that’s been spent on selling her, dressed like Princess Leia after a really bad break-up.

Pic: Tom Martin

But I knew I had to see Little Boots before I decided it was all hype, so I took my cynicism along to the Cockpit in Leeds (15 May). Victoria’s from Blackpool, but spent five years on this scene, and popped her musical cherry in an LS postcode, which explains the presence of members of The Music, Embrace and I Like Trains in the crowd – the kind of bands you’d normally expect at the Cockpit. But she’d also lured a lot of locals who’d probably never set foot in the place before – big fat blokes, perfectly polished girls, even a few grannies.

Pic: Tom Martin

Anyway, the upshot is I’ve been brainwashed, I just can’t hate her. In fact, I loved everything about the gig. She was a dirtier Sophie Ellis Bextor, a cleverer Kylie, Lady Gaga after her medication, but still just Victoria Hesketh messing about and calling the shots. Yeah, fine, her tunes aren’t exactly cutting edge – electro synth-pop with elephantine beats is playing it fairly safe – but my feet weren’t complaining at the time, and ‘Meddle’ is still messing with my brain four days later.

I even liked the shiny dress she’d made out of tin foil, the stage lights that fell off the back of a UFO, and the flashing box she plays – it was pure Blackpool on tour. But like she said, “Me and Blackpool were both built to entertain”.

Me and photographer Tom caught her on a fire escape and had a chat. But not before she’d worked patiently through a queue wanting photos, autographs, the chance to try really bad chat-up lines, and claims that they were long lost relatives.

“Playing Leeds is always great,” she said. “There’s loads of people that I know, loads of old school friends. I came to the Cockpit through university to see people like Ladytron – my favourite band who I thought was huge at the time – and I was just like ‘yeah you’ve got to be a real band to play at the Cockpit’. It’s a really big room in here and I just thought ‘wow’.”

I asked her why she’d got a bit emotional at the end of the gig – after all, she’s everywhere, what was so different about tonight that threw her? “It was because everyone had their hands in the air, and because it’s quite a special place for me, I know it, it felt really special.”

Pic: Tom Martin