Noisettes – Nottingham Rock City, Monday February 22.
For a pop group with only two hit singles to their name, and an album which has been around since last May, Noisettes have shown remarkable staying power. The singles have each notched up around six months on the charts, and the album continues to sell well to this day. With no new product to promote – indeed, only one unreleased song got an airing last night – the band are back on tour, surfing the wave of their continued success.
“Rock City, at last! It’s taken us five years”, exclaimed singer Shingai Shoniwa, clearly delighted to be with us. (The band were in fact booked to support Maxïmo Park last May, but never showed up.) Shingai radiated pop star glamour, topping her black and white outfit with a banana worn as a headdress. No matter how hard she threw herself around the stage – even leaping barefoot into the crowd on occasion, and dancing her way right to the back of the main floor – the banana stayed securely fixed, a triumph of engineering.
If you have only seen Noisettes soundtracking the credits on TV chat shows, then you might have expected a polished but somewhat tame show. In the face of Shingai’s astonishing performance, any such expectations were swiftly trashed. Part coquettish showgirl, part rowdy rock chick, her commitment to having the best time possible on stage was all-consuming and awe-inspiring. She could make the transition from pop starlet to mainstream light entertainment personality any time she liked, and achieve even greater success – but right now, such temptations are clearly the last thing on her mind.
For the first song of the encore, Shingai reappeared at the top of one of the balcony staircases, perched precariously over the railings. “I have no fear”, she warbled, leaning backwards until her entire upper half hung upside down over the crowd below. Seconds after the song finished, she was back on stage. “Ooh, someone tried to cop a feel!” she squealed. “That’s OK, because I’m single…”
“You’re the best crowd we’ve had”, gasped guitarist Dan at the end of the set, visibly overwhelmed by our warmth. Meanwhile, Shingai launched into an impromptu rendition of Dame Vera Lynn’s We’ll Meet Again, rasping the lyric in an exaggerated Cockney accent. “I know we’ll meet again, some sunny day – HAVE A BANAAANA!” And with that, she was off.