Words & pics by Eleanor Sutcliffe
I never thought I’d witness a Genting Arena steward dance. Yet here I was, an hour into Paloma Faith’s show, watching a red-haired stewardess shimmy down the central aisle to the bemusement of the surrounding crowd.
Call it cliché, but it was unavoidable – the atmosphere of the evening was intoxicating, and it was all down to Paloma Faith’s incredible performance.
As the lights went down and the stage glowed an ominous red, Faith appeared and strode down the opposite staircase to where the four other photographers and I had been placed. Cue an awkward minute or so of camera clutching as we waited for Faith to safely descend in a pair of mammoth white heels, microphone in hand, as she sang the title track from her latest album The Architect. The stage resembled something out of a post-apocalyptic Sci Fi film, with holographic geometric platforms housing her band whom she referred to as “the dream team”.
One thing I was taken aback by was just how fond I grew of Paloma Faith as the performance went on. Between songs, she touched on numerous subjects such as childbirth, self-love, politics and war, with the charm and finesse only the Hackney-born singer could possess. Not pedantic or patronising (as some artists can be on these subjects) but delivered heartfelt and in all honesty, even hilarious at times.
Faith is not one to skirt around details either, as she recounted her hopes for a relaxed home birth before “it all went to shit, and I became a well of pus – Beyoncé didn’t have that, surely”. These witty anecdotes grounded the evening’s performance, leaving the audience cheering for more.
And what a performance it was. Faith’s set list contained a whole host of tracks, both old and new. Songs such as ‘Crybaby’ and ‘My Body’ proved to be hits with the crowd, who were beginning to rise from their seats and dance along. Watching two women leap up and run down the main aisle whilst being chased by security, during ‘Warrior’, was a true highlight to the evening, especially when Faith actively encouraged their behaviour.
Her slower songs proved to hit a poignant note with the crowd too. Faith’s duet of ‘I’ll Be Gentle’ with her guitarist, BB Bones, left my jaw slack in awe, as did her rendition of ‘Picking up the Pieces’.
Although Faith is working hard to craft herself a new niche in today’s music scene, she hasn’t strayed too far from her former work – a refreshing change from the numerous artists that attempt to reinvent themselves every few years.
But that’s the beauty of a Paloma Faith show, the dynamic is simply ever changing – from clambering onto a grand piano to mournfully sing ‘Just Be’, to knee sliding along the stage during Sigala’s hit single ‘Changing’, you never quite know what you’re going to get. Apart from a bloody good show; that’s a given.
For more on Paloma Faith, visit www.palomafaith.com
For more from SJM Concerts/Gigs and Tours, visit www.gigsandtours.com
For more form the Genting Arena, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.gentingarena.co.uk