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Live Review: Ladyhawke – Friday 11th May 2012 – Shepherds Bush Empire, London, UK

5 min read

New Zealand singer Ladyhawke made her long awaited and triumphant return to London last night with the singers first performance in the capital for a good couple of years. With her debut album pulling in followers by the millions thanks to singles Back Of The Van, the fan favorite Paris Is Burning and the monster release, My Dilerium. The release presented to world with the biggest musical export from New Zealand in quite some time and proved to be a fruitful release for Ladyhawke who began to get attention from all four corners of the globe including recognition from some of the industry’s most elite.

With her sophomore record Anxiety approaching release within the next few weeks it appears that Ladyhawke’s reign of success is set to continue. The records first single was Black, White and Blue and saw the star take on a more nostalgic glossing quite reminiscent of fellow female icons, Blondie and Suzie Quatro. Her new single Sunday Drive follows suit and has ushered in the singers latest string of UK performances to support the upcoming release including a sold out date at London’s Shepherds Bush Empire.

Hitting the stage at 9.15 following a very lacklustre support band performance the stage was lit up in lights including a mic stand positioned centre stage for the star which had fairy lights entwined from top to bottom which we thought was very Lady Gaga. The first chords of early single Back Of The Van played in to an almost deafening applause. Swinging through an opening set of old and new we got to hear the singers debut single before the star welcomed in a trio of future hits from Anxiety.

Blue Eyes was the first and got the crowd heated up with anticipation with a fantastic performance of the singers brand new material. Two of the new records standout tracks then sat back to back with Girl Like Me and Anxiety getting the audiences seal of approval. Easily a pair of the singers best penned numbers, both showcased Ladyhawke’s effortless performance skills and distinctive, kiwi accented vocals as they sat confidently over a synth heavy backdrop provided by her DJ.

Early numbers followed with Professional Suicide, Magic and Dusk Till Dawn before Anxiety’s lead single Black, White and Blue shook the walls of the venue with gave the crowd an energetic and perfectly composed new addition to the Ladyhawke catalogue and one that translated perfectly from record to live setting with ease. Moving through some catchy staccato verses the crowd sang along with the singer as the chorus gave the set an injection of mainstream grandeur.

Further down the set we were offered some semi-balladry with Cellophane proving to be a popular addition to the set while Sunday Drive, her latest single, got the crowd up within the three circle levels and dancing along as Ladyhawke, with her name being shone on some impressive beaming lights behind the band, propelled her way through a pulsating rhythm and some echoed vocal effects. The song also welcomed some A-list fans among the crowd with Scissor Sisters front man Jake Shears and fellow band member Babydaddy among the audience on the first level and dancing away with a track the pair have recently remixed for the kiwi starlet.

Before a two track encore the incredible Paris Is Burning took the reigns and prior to the track Ladyhawke showed her humorous side by explaining the process of the encore, something she confessed to finding embarrassing, by encouraging the crowd to cry out for more from the star in her minute long absence from the stage.

Over the duration of the set Ladyhawke appeared confident and clearly buzzing from the fact that the gig was a sellout, often commenting on how shocked she was that so many people had descended on the venue to see the performance. She gave thanks on numerous occasions to the crowd who howled and chanted back at the singer giving her more reason to feel elevated among a powerful self penned collection of nostalgically coated hits and even requested backstage help in finding her phone so that she could take a snapshot of the crowd. Among the audience her mother and stepfather were seen looking proud and impressed with a daughter who had been catapulted from almost obscurity in their homeland to being a mainstream contender in the international market within the short space of four years since the singers almost iconic, self-titled debut.

Returning to the stage for her encore the singer delivered perfect performances of old and new with Gone Gone Gone taking the Anxiety honors and giving the final glimpse into what is expected from the forthcoming album release before her biggest hit to date, My Delirium, ended the night on a high.

Ladyhawke is probably the biggest star to rise from the small country of New Zealand and her songs have given the singer worldwide recognition. Anxiety will without doubt continue to showcase one of the greatest female musicians the world has been presented with and last nights performance at the Shepherds Bush Empire showcased just why Ladyhawke has what it takes to deliver such an outstanding array of pennings and also deliver them flawlessly in the live arena.

Set list:

Back of the Van
Blue Eyes
Girl Like Me
Anxiety
Professional Suicide
Magic
Dusk Till Dawn
Black White & Blue
The Quick & The Dead
Love Don’t Live Here
Cellophane
Vanity
Better Than Sunday
Vaccine
Sunday Drive
Paris Is Burning
Gone Gone Gone
My Delirium