She flits onstage like a little bird – in a pink mini-skirt, crop top and clear plastic foam sandals. You could easily mistake her for Eliza Doolittle, but the birdsong that comes from this little dove is what sets her apart.
Louisa Rosa Allen, or Foxes – a moniker she dubbed herself due the similarity of her name to Lily Allen – seems to embrace the show as an opportunity to flaunt and flounce herself before a male-filled front row. Foxes knows what she’s doing as she treats the boys to hair flips, leg raises and belly dancing.
The opening “Talking to Ghosts” sets the tone for the rest of the show – Foxes melodises hauntingly beautiful songs, all the while distracting from the darkness of her music with expressive and pretty movements. It’s a questionable contrast.
Rather than communicating the heartbreak and determination of the lyrics in the album title song ‘Glorious’, Foxes concentrates more on twisting and wringing her hands. But the final chorus is a vocal triumph. This little bird can chirp.
Foxes stretches to push the low ceiling of Academy 2 during “Shaking Heads”, as though trying to expand the tiny venue to accommodate her volume.
The celebratory and upbeat “Holding Onto Heaven” suit Foxes’ lithe onstage pirouetting, but the anxiety of “White Coats” is lost in her perky demeanour.
Many would recognise Foxes’ “Youth” from the Christmas Debenhams ad campaign. The magical crescendo of the tune became an iconic sound of Christmas 2013. After belting out the beautiful Youth, though, it was perplexing to hear her exclaim: “I can’t believe Dublin knows Youth, this is so exciting!” In a sold-out intimate venue show, it’s hardly surprising that that fans know one of her most mainstream songs.
A cover of Drake’s ‘Hold On We’re Going Home’ mashed with Eminem’s ‘The Monster’ proves Foxes distinct vocal ability to croon longingly. An acoustic rendition of the Grammy Award winning ‘Clarity’ by Zedd does the same.
With a central message of young people vying for attention and an attack on superficiality, the ballad “Beauty Queen” is now almost comical when sung by Foxes. The encore D&B hit ‘Right Here’ by Rudimental sees Foxes treat the front stage as a catwalk, and with every strut she embraces every moment of the ogling audience
The insincere performance could be attributed to insecurity. With songs in Glorious that reveal the deep fears of youth and change, you could say that Foxes hasn’t yet found her emotional voice yet, even though her singing voice is echoing just fine.
Foxes’ debut album Glorious is out May 9.
All images: Rachel McLaughlin
Rachel Mc Laughlin