Mel C Live at Scala, King’s Cross, December 9th 2011

Posted: March 7, 2012 in Pop, Popular Music, Rock Music, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Mel C, live at Scala, London December 9th 2011

Mel C, live at Scala, London December 9th 2011

Mel C, Live at Scala, King’s Cross, December 9th 2011

This was one that got away from me. Well it was approaching Christmas and I had other matters on my mind as you do at that seasonal time of the year.

I was prompted or rather reminded that this review is long overdue by the fact Mel C performed again in London on March 1st at the O2 Academy Islington. Those wanting to see a review of that gig – sorry to disappoint but if she was half as good as at Scala in King’s Cross you will have had a great time.

I’ve been waiting a long time to see this singer – 5 years to be precise if we are talking live and 10 years if we talk about the first time I played her debut album Northern Star. Although she will probably never sever the link in the public’s collective mind with the Spice Girls, it is definite a case that the part is greater than the sum of the whole.  Since I heard her duet back in 1998/99 with Bryan Adams on “When You’re Gone”, I always thought this girl had a lot farther to go in the music business. She had an edginess that the other Spices simply didn’t possess and out of all them, she was always the one I preferred. Her longevity is a testament to the quality of music that she consistently puts out as well as the energy of the live shows. Ironically, just as she was kick-starting her solo career, the Spice Girls were having their penultimate Top 10 hit and a No. 1 to boot with “Goodbye”.

What of the Scala show? Well, it was intimate because that’s the nature of the place but it was also lively. The problem with Scala and that is nothing to do with the artist is that literally 600 people are squashed in to a small square in front of the stage. The stage thankfully is very visible from all angles. It was just a case of jostling your way into a good position. The problem was holding on to that position. Trying doing that for more than half an hour with people coming and going. Unfortunately, the wait was long until Mel came on.  It was, however, worth the wait.  Wearing a skin hugging black trousers and top, Mel launched into a power opening with with “Rock Me” a sort of fusion between high energy pop dance and rock. This was taken from new album “The Sea” and had the crowd going ecstatic. The camera were clicking and the video phones in the crowd were rolling from the off. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many at a concert. Another song from the new album, Weak, showed Mel’s capacity for funnelling raw emotion and vulnerability through her voice.

Melanie Chisolm proved the consummate professional throughout always looking in control of the stage. She made the occasional commentaries between songs asking the crowd “how you doing”  but also provoked a laugh when admitting  to “feeling snotty” and asking if anyone else felt the same.

Music-wise, there were many crowd pleasing moments some taken from the Northern Star album including the title track and the soft pop ballad “Never Be the Same Again” with its R n B-esque rhythms; but the crowd were also treated to a delightful acoustic  of Reason and a very expressive “Here It Comes Again” with very demonstrative hand movements from Mel and lovely backing harmonies. Then it was back to tracks from The Sea. “One by One” had more than a touch of influence of American country ballad about it and provided an uplifting feeling of optimism. It proved very popluar with the crowd who were cheering long before the song finished. But this proved nothing compared to the rock and roll end to the main part of the show. “When your gone” had everyone singing along at the top of their voices. OK, main show over : but  just when you thought there could be no more surprise a special guest was unveiled. Brian May from Queen appeared from amidst the stage smoke to perform the play One Vision with Mel on vocals. You almost could feel the electricity surging through the crowd. Never having had the privilege of seeing Queen live (I envy the people who have) , it was absolutely thrilling to watch Brian May at work at close quarters on the guitar.  If,  as that was not enough, a burst of high energy pop in the form of “I turn to you” saw the show to a climatic with the crowd dancing wildly.

Brian May makes a Special Guest appearance at Mel C's Scala show,, London, December 9th 2011

Brian May makes a Special Guest appearance at Mel C's Scala show,, London, December 9th 2011

Mel C proved in this concert showed why she successfully occupies a niche that straddles pop and rock and throws in to the mix a touch of R n B.

The only downside to the concert was that she did not play what is arguably her most popular song  – the grungey classic “Going Down” .  Of all the songs I wanted to hear, it was this one. I suppose now , I will have to go again to satisfy my desire. Still great concert anyway.

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