Sunday, 6 April 2008

Duffy, Pigalle

What does ‘The Next Big Thing’ mean? Why should people believe anything we say? In this case, it’s because Duffy IS everything that the manic buzz suggests - a humble, unpretentious performer with a truly unique talent set to captivate 2008.

The Pigalle’s lavish, faux-Parisian surroundings provide a perfect foil to Duffy’s sultry, understated glamour as she opens with ‘Rockferry’, the one that the audience knows. The difference between Duffy and so many other artists who wear their influences on their sleeves is the fact that she is not merely harking back to the 1960s, but instead she has become fully immersed in it. This is not retro, it is the simple glamour of a 23-year-old girl from North Wales who almost apologetically has the power to make her voice reverberate off the walls, to entirely captivate her audience with the sweet soul of her music.

The set is nine songs long, all taken from the impending album, and includes such gems as ‘Stepping Stone’, ‘Serious’ and ‘Warwick Avenue’. Each is a delight on its own merits, but when you put together a repertoire so varied and widely informed (perhaps unknowingly, as the case may be), and have it interpreted by a fantastically tight six-piece backing band, you are left with something which is a true one-off, leaving shivers in spines and tinglings down backs of necks. The audience comprises of a huge age range, as well as industry mogul Simon Gavin, which makes it almost inevitable that the plaudits are well placed.

No superlative could elucidate how unexpected the transformation is between the Duffy that is so shy and unassuming in between songs, and the Duffy that becomes taken over by her own music into a bold, self-assured Nancy Sinatra type. The Dusty Springfield comparisons are inevitable as Duffy shares a similar rich, unfussy yet emotive vocal tone with the former, but it’d be a huge injustice to think of her as just another stab at nostalgia.

Duffy is a global star in the making, where the making is impending quicker than anyone knows.

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