La Roux played a storming headline set on the opening date of the Samsung NME Radar Tour last night (April 29), after Heartbreak, Magistrates and The Chapman Family opened proceedings at a packed Nottingham Rescue Rooms.
With the stage bathed in smoke, La Roux singer Elly Jackson showcased tracks from her eponymous album, backed by a three-piece band.
After sending the crowd ecstatic with the likes of current Number Two single ‘In For The Kill’, ‘Quicksand’ and album standout ‘Bulletproof’, Jackson told NME.COM why headlining the Samsung NME Radar Tour was special for her.
“The thing about NME readers is that they’re well up for it!” she explained enthusiastically. “They are, they absolutely love it! It’s a really good crowd to play to. It’s so nice when you get a response like I got tonight.”
However the gig was not without its problems. La Roux had to abandon playing ‘Growing Pains’ due to sound issues, resulting in a couple of minutes of silence during which Jackson told the crowd that she could not hear herself singing. Once the problem was sorted, the band kicked straight into ‘In For The Kill’, prompting wild cheers from the heaving audience.
“I must admit, I wasn’t expecting technical problems!” Jackson said of the incident after the gig. “Something like that, it’s not planned, but at least it shows you’re human. I still thought it was a great gig though. I loved it. I love dancing, I love getting all sweaty. It was great fun!”
La Roux played:
‘As If By Magic’
‘Growing Pains’ (aborted)
‘In For The Kill’
‘I’m Not Your Toy’
Earlier The Chapman Family had opened the tour, coming onstage at roughly 7pm (BST) and playing a blistering eight-songs, including fan-favourites ‘Kids’ and ‘Million Dollars’.
“We only finished our soundcheck about 20 seconds before the doors actually opened!” bassist Pop Chapman told NME.COM after the band’s performance. “People started coming in to the venue, so we went out to get some air. And by the time we came back in we had to go straight onstage again!”
They were followed by Magistrates. The Southend five piece – who have been championed by Damon Albarn – instantly got the crowd dancing, particularly on tracks like the falsetto-led ‘Colour Coordination’ and former single ‘Heartbreak’.
Singer Paul Usher was in high spirits about the other bands playing the tour.
“I’ve not met La Roux yet but I’ve met the other guys – lovely people!” he told NME.COM. “I think everyone’s up for it on this tour. Heartbreak are really nice, and actually, everyone I’ve spoken to so far seems cool. Which is handy! It’d be awful touring with a bunch of mean bastards, wouldn’t it?!”
With the atmosphere in the heaving venue reaching boiling point, Anglo-Argentinean duo Heartbreak – backed by a live drummer – then showcased their brand of Italo disco.
‘We’re Back’ – the epic centrepiece from the band’s ‘Lies’ album – went down a storm with the Nottingham crowd, with singer Sebastian Muravchik‘s flamboyant dancing proving popular with fans.
“We’ve not toured with as many bands as this before, so hopefully we’ll all bond,” Muravchik told NME.COM before taking to the stage. “It seems like it’ll happen – it’s the first night of the tour, so if it’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen tonight!”
Bandmate Ali Renault added that with anticipation kicking in, he was keen to get the first night of the tour out of the way.
“I’m feeling good, we’re onstage in about an hour. I’m not worried about a thing actually – I’m just making sure I’m looking forward to it now!” he said.
Of the other bands on the tour, Renault said he was particularly impressed with The Chapman Family, declaring: “I’d not seen them before, and they were a lot heavier than what I was expecting, which I really liked. Their songs have really interesting arrangements – they’re a really dynamic band.”
The Samsung NME Radar Tour continues at Bristol tonight (April 30).
The tours remaining dates are as follows:
[b]Bristol Thekla (30)
Wrexham Central Station (1)
Oxford O2 Academy (2)
Cardiff The Globe (3)
Manchester Academy 3 (6)
Leeds Cockpit (7)
Preston 53 Degrees (8)
Glasgow King Tuts (10)
Birmingham Academy 2 (13)
Portsmouth Wedgwood Rooms (14)
Stoke Sugarmill (17)
Norwich Waterfront (18)
London KOKO (19)