Review and pictures: Paloma Faith – Bournemouth International Centre

Review and pictures: Paloma Faith – Bournemouth International Centre

Words by Lewis Maclean. Pictures by Rhona Murphy. 

I feel I should state at the outset that I think Paloma Faith is a great live act and the BIC a fantastic venue.

I first saw Paloma live at the other stage of Bestival back in 2011 in the afternoon playing to a burnt out festival crowd in recovery.  I witnessed her telling off an audience for not having enough energy and I thought: This singer is awesome.   

At the BIC, Paloma Faith had a bit of everything – obviously music but additional cabaret, comedy, politics and even a touch a magic. Seriously, there was a point where one of Paloma’s backing singers handed her a piece of paper that was on fire and she put it out and dropped it. But it didn’t hit the ground, there were no ashes, no falling residue. It simply  . . vanished! 

Paloma knows how to keep her fan base happy, wittingly presented songs off her new album ‘The Glorification of Sadness’ playing as her own supporting act. The nature of her new material had a different tone and felt like it had a cynicism that comes with life experience. Titles like ‘Crybaby’ and ‘Eat Shit & Die’ are a bit of a clue. 

She then used her second set to return to 2010 Paloma Faith, keeping everyone happy by playing songs like ‘Upside Down’ and ‘Can’t Rely on You’. Paloma kept us regularly updated on the proceedings between songs and even found space for a warmly welcomed 10 minute rant on the theme of ‘The patriarchy’. Paloma’s positive comments were well received by the family behind me, as joyous daughters, mothers and grandmothers all danced the night away. Nobody sat and everyone stood as instructed by Paloma herself. It felt like the entire audience was in awe of the Queen P tonight.

There was a spectacular stage set up, with a sort of inverted, diagonal stone pathway that altered the 2d depth perception of the vertical stage floor. It was had something of a National Theatre play feel and was certainly useful leverage for the guitarist to stage dive off mid song. It gave a bit of an ‘oomph’ with added height and range that helped project the performance to the back seats where I was sat for the first half. It was a clever design with stage space, and the use of black and grey matched the cloudy tone of the new music nicely.

There was a brief interval of about 20 minutes before the second part of the show as promised. 

There was a special moment on the last song of the evening; ‘Only Love Can Hurt Like This’ as Paloma invited everyone to put their mobile phone lights on and hold them up above their heads. It made for a visually spectacular finish to the evening, it was the last of a few unique moments that demonstrated the special bond that Paloma has with her audience. It is an interesting personality that can be so direct and upfront but also so warm and beloved. Not bad for someone who was once told she was unemployable. She obviously had faith in her music.

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