Amy Winehouse: KOKO, London; Tuesday November 14

Amy Winehouse: KOKO, London; Tuesday November 14

She’s no angel, but that’s why she’s ace

“I can see my mummy,” pouts Amy Winehouse with an Artful Dodger twang. “Hello mummy!”. Tonight’s a family affair; slap bang in the middle of Amy’s home turf, it’s a meeting of the whole Winehouse clan, extended family and the north London mafia – which “includes the landlady of the local pub”. As she flashes grins and bigs up various acquaintances scattered throughout the crowd, she’s like a wide-girl Queen Mum, sipping chardonnay on a heart-warming cockney meet and greet during the blitz, except the only bombs dropping in this venue tonight are soul-packed musical ones. Oh and the Queen Mum never looked like a cross between Ronnie Spector (google it kids) and an award-winning tattooed lady from Coney Island.

With all her relatives gathered in one room and Christmas lists yet to be written, you’d have thought that Amy would be on her bestest behaviour, but does she keep up the angelic, butter-wouldn’t-melt conduct? Does she fuck. With about as much decorum as a horny sailor pissed on methylated spritzers with 24 hours shore leave, she fishes into the top half of her mini dress, jiggles her breasts about and bemoans her lack of “titty tape” in such a lurid manner that you can almost hear scandalised Kings Cross pimps gasping with offence.

Yet when the band pipes up and Winehouse lets her voice flow like a cement mixer of gravel and honey, its obvious class is one thing this lady ain’t lacking. As the opening bars of the swinging ‘Tears Dry On Their Own’ floods into the venue, Amy gives a massive smile before dropping her jaw and letting out a sound more beguiling than a million Christina Aguileras wrapped in silk. Strutting around feistyly to ‘Back To Black’’s steamy trudge and doing a mental-but-ace shaky hands dance to ‘Rehab’, Amy is an unapologetic pop icon sporting hair so huge and heels so high that her tiny frame at times threatens to disappear into them completely.

After hollering through the mournful jazz of ‘Love Is A Losing Game’, Amy gives a coy dip and girlish wink, and NW1’s very own foul-mouthed Betty Boo bids the crowd a good night – evidently she can do ladylike if she wants, but only when she wants, geddit?

Leonie Cooper