Auf Der Maur Live in London

By Tokemaster General, Contributor
Monday, April 19, 2004 @ 10:37 AM

Melissa Auf Der Maur Live at t

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‘……. And when she was good, she was very very good. But when she was bad, she was horrible.’

Those familiar with MadM’s debut solo album will recognise those words: spoken at the end of the opening song. From what I was told by someone who knows about singing and performing far, far better then me, this show would probably be aptly described by that little ditty…

The Mean Fiddler is in the heart of London’s West End, not far from similar rock venues such as The Borderline, The Metro and The Astoria. On the edge of seedy SoHo, there is plenty to do and see in this part of the capital. Just watch your back, that’s all.

The Fiddler represented a curious choice of venue for MadM’s only London show. A really odd set up, whereby the main floor area in front of the stage is raised, with recessed areas all around. So either get there early or have an extendable rubber neck. The minstrel’s gallery was packed with industry types, sipping warm cans of Stella Artois and trying to look cool and hip.

Fuck that, I went downstairs and managed to squeeze near the front past the cross section of interesting people that were there, in time for the arrival on stage of Melissa.

A bit of background music, a wink to the crowd and straight into “Lightning is My Girl.”

I find Melissa quite difficult to categorise, and I suspect that is what she wants to be: un-can-able. Her album is varied, full of great melodies, differing times and risqué lyrics. Her voice is sultry, sometimes whispering, sometimes pained, and sometimes passionate. She is French speaking after all, and her between song banter reveals her ‘heart and soul.’

She wanted to please, and the already sold crowd lapped it up.

Last time I saw her, supporting APC at Hammersmith, she looked divine and tonight is no different. This time though, we knew the words to some of her songs:

‘Come to me
Plug it in
So I can digest you
I will taste you...’

Yes please!

Drawing entirely from her album, Melissa led her band in a raunchy merry dance – pausing to ascertain that a lot of the crowd where of French extraction, so some French vocals were employed to good effect during “Taste You.” Other highlights included “Skin Receiver” and “Beast of Honor.”

The gig did meander a bit during the middle of the set. I guess this is because of the material: only one album. Not many people have made an album full of cast iron live killers! But still, the songs were delivered perfectly and the sound was clear as a bell. Melissa herself was clearly pleased with everything – dancing a jig at one point and (perhaps predictably) saying that the London crowd was the best of the tour thus far…

Closing off with a solo version of the first song she ever wrote, “Good News,” which was performed as an encore – Melissa was practically summoned back on stage by a crowd that had just been primed by the superb “Followed the Waves.”

Overall, I think I’m being a bit picky. This was a good night, I really enjoyed it and the more I see of Melissa in the future the better. It is good to see her forging her own way – and there is a niche for her in today’s growing market of female led bands.

This review was built on Guinness, and is for Simon, Mel, Mike and Adam.

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