La Roux brings crowd to life at NYC show


Blair Cannon

Electronic artist La Roux performs a vibrant set on Oct. 4 at Terminal 5.

La Roux, the musical persona of Briton Elly Jackson, wowed the crowd at a packed Terminal 5 on Oct. 4. Performing songs from all parts of her career, Jackson electrified her audience with a variety of sounds.

The opening band, Midnight Magic, got the crowd fired up for La Roux’s performance. The Brooklyn-based group, which was formed in Los Angeles, had an infectious strain of disco dance-floor fodder that made for an unexpected and extremely effective introduction. Of particular note was the brass section that accompanied the group, adding extra panache to songs already brimming with potential.

Yet it was the group’s lead vocalist, Tiffany Roth, who stole the show with her charismatic stage presence and provocative dance moves.

“Get dirty, get slimy,” Roth said to a steadily growing crowd. It was a directive that mostly went unheeded, prompting her to yell at the crowd once again to start dancing. The second time, the crowd complied.

Following a 30-minute break after the end of Midnight Magic’s performance, Jackson took the stage draped in a red trench coat with a black jumpsuit underneath and bathed in a cool blue light. Soon, the opening tones to the highlight of her new album “Trouble in Paradise,” “Lay Me Down Gently,” began to play.

In what became a trend throughout the night, Jackson constantly cycled between her newer material and the songs from “La Roux,” her critically acclaimed and commercially successful debut album. A noticeable dichotomy was discernible between the two bodies of work, however, as is liable to happen with any five-year gap between records.

The tracks from “Trouble in Paradise” were generally tamer than those in her 2009 debut. The album’s aggressive, ’80s-inflected synth-pop made for the more riveting songs in the set. Even Jackson has mellowed since her early days — the flaming coiff of hair that previously defined her now lay combed over to the side and slightly blonder.

In spite of this, several newer tracks — notably “Uptight Downtown” and “Sexotheque” — were particularly effective. The set closer, “Silent Partner,” provided and upbeat end to the show.

In the end though, the cuts from “La Roux” — “Quicksand,” “I’m Not Your Toy” and “In for the Kill” — had the largest impact on the audience. It seems that Jackson was aware of this, choosing to utilize the two biggest tracks from her debut as the encore performance, which were “Tigerlily,” a dark electro-odyssey with tropical tinges, and “Bulletproof,” the end-all anthem of the 2000s.

The set proved that some songs never wear out their welcome, and “Bulletproof” still has the ability to make everyone dance like it is 2009. It is a feeling that cannot be manufactured, and for that, La Roux deserves particular commendation.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Oct. 7 print edition. Email Jean-Luc Marsh at [email protected]