LIVE REVIEW: Grace Jones @ Enmore Theatre, Sydney (19/04/11)

written by Chris Familton

This was dubbed the Hurricane Tour which was kind of strange considering the album of the same name was released 3 years ago. Coming 19 years after Grace Jones’ previous release of original material it isn’t surprising that she still considers it to her ‘new’ album (as she often reminded us), such was the length of time between drinks.

This was a show that was as much about theatrical costumes and crazy and clever humour as it was about the music. Jones has always been one to blur the line between fashion and songs and so it was more an expectation rather than a surprise as she unveiled wild and ostentatious costumes that added colour and flair to the music. She tailored her look to specific songs like the floral explosion of La Vie en Rose, the devilish medusa look in Devil In My Life and the  dancehall queen colours of My Jamaican Guy.

Jones’ song choice was impeccable with a cross section of her biggest hits alongside a large proportion of the Hurricane album. It was those newer songs that sounded the most impressive. They were loud and utterly contemporary, drenched in trip hop dread, dark electronica and some of Jones’ most powerful vocal performances. The highlights were Corporate Cannibal with its accompanying video and the grand skittering drama of the wind assisted title track. Her band never over-shone Jones but they were a powerful group of musicians that could switch from the French pop of La Vie en Rose to dub soaked endings of songs like Private Life with consummate ease.

With Grace Jones you get it all – from backstage commentary about cocaine at airports to confetti cannons and laser deflecting bowler hats. Through it all it was her voice that constantly impressed with a range that can seduce or scare the living daylights out of you with a malevolence akin to Tricky. She closed the show with two of her biggest hits – an overplayed Pull Up To The Bumper and Slave To The Rhythm that lost its way with mid song band introductions. Those missteps plus some minor costume hitches and false starts meant this wasn’t a flawless show but it mattered little when she had earlier delivered such an astonishing electro glam rock take on Roxy Music’s Love Is The Drug. Jones showed she is still one of the more forward thinking and creative pop culture icons out there – original types that are increasingly rare to find.

this review first appeared in Drum Media

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