As the rain came down late on Sunday afternoon I ran to the car with my camera cradled underneath my jacket. While many were settling down for a relaxing Sunday evening in front of the television, I was heading over to the Bournemouth International Centre to see Paloma Faith.
I arrived early so I could catch the support act, XamVolo. He looked relaxed on stage and gave off the impression of confidence and cool. Which is vital in order to pull off wearing sunglasses in a dark venue!
The 23 year old from London oversees every element of his music, a sound which he describes as “a messy mind over raw, dark jazz grooves.” You clearly gain a sense of his musical roots from his track ‘Old Soul.’ My highlights of the set was his stripped back cover of Gnarls Barkley’s ‘Crazy’ and ‘Feel Good.’ If you are a fan of classic Soul, Blues, Hip-Hop and more specifically the likes of D’Angelo, John Legend and Maxwell, then I would encourage you to check out Xamvolo for yourself.
After a short break, the crowd took their seats ready for the main attraction. The lights dimmed and the curtains opened to reveal Paloma’s band stood and ready to go. The lights remained dim though, then out of nowhere Samuel L Jackson’s voice was heard, “Be the beauty, the memory, the past, the past, the present and the future, be infinite. Do something, say something, believe in something. But most of all, know you can change things. Yes, you. What are you waiting for? Do not be fearful of evolution. The time is now.”
Paloma met the Pulp Fiction star while working for his men’s cancer charity One For The Boys and convinced him to perform a monologue for ‘Evolution,’ the opening track from her new record The Architect. After Jackson’s introduction, Paloma made her entrance through a trapdoor beneath what looks like a giant glitterball volcano. She went straight into the title track of the new album, which was then followed by ‘Crybaby‘ and ‘Guilty.’
Paloma was her usual likeable, chatty self throughout the show, she took every opportunity to engage with the crowd. She greeted the crowd and thanked them for their patience, referring to the three year gap between albums due to Paloma giving birth to her first child. She spoke quite openly about her aspirations of the perfect childbirth and how she dealt with giving birth two months prematurely. She went on to talk about how she was inspired to write the next song, ‘My Body.’ In this track Paloma explores her own body confidence issues after the birth.
During the next break in the music, Paloma explained how she wanted to inspire “an epidemic of kindness” in response to the growing trend of cyberbullying and nastiness online and in society. She challenged the audience to do one kind thing a day, every day and inspire others to follow suit.
Her guitarist, B.B Bones, was invited centre stage with Paloma, where he filled in for John Legend during their rendition of ‘I’ll Be Gentle.’ After this, they raised the tempo with ‘Kings & Queens’ and ‘Picking Up The Pieces.’ The previously seated crowd responded in turn and stood up to dance. As the show progressed most of those looking to have a dance moved out into the walkways, much to the relief of those sitting behind them!
Paloma saved ‘Still Around,’ ‘Only Love Can Hurt Like This‘ and ‘Love Me As I Am’ until the encore although I had to sneak off before the very end. I’d parked near the top of the multi-storey next to the BIC and have previously been stuck there for about an hour trying to get out and I wasn’t going to make that mistake again.
This show was very much The Architect tour as there were only five tracks played that aren’t on the album (or deluxe version). I have to be honest that I prefer her earlier material. While Paloma has always been a pop star I feel like in her earlier music lent much further towards her soul, blues and jazz influences. She was engaging and a pleasure throughout the show and I would suggest that anyone who is in the audience for her performance at Victorious Festival is in for a treat.