Reviewed on Thursday October 3
Like a kind of alluring praying mantis, the gorgeous Aluna Francis emerged through the smoke somehow scantily clad and wearing lots of garments at the same time. Sporting a black corset with “Oh Shit!” written all over it, black transparent fisherman pants and flourishes of jewellery, she immediately confirmed the belief that she does absolutely whatever she wants. AlunaGeorge dropped ‘Attracting Flies’ early, and the palpitating hip hop beat flowed through the venue.
The genesis of the duo’s sound lies in the classic R&B and new jack swing of the ’90s, and they paid homage to their roots with a stellar cover of Montell Jordan’s ‘This Is How We Do It’. The song, by its nature, demands a real attitude and sass to be pulled off; luckily Francis exudes pure sass from her pores.
‘Lost & Found’ is a mystical, Crash Bandicoot-esque track that utilised the whole band’s potential and filled the room with squelchy, manic beats. Things got real funky and ravey when they played crowd favourites ‘Just A Touch’ and ‘You Know You Like It’, with Francis getting all bashful on stage and telling the audience how she and George Reid felt at home here, thousands of miles away from London. Aww.
The duo bounced off each other in an adorable yin and yang kind of way. Reid was happy to humbly blitz it on his spread of synths and mixers while Francis took charge with the audience, winning us over with her charm and talent and dance moves and effrontery and lack of pretence. She obviously shines but doesn’t hog the limelight, and the two have such great onstage intuition and chemistry with each other. At one point Francis wandered over to Reid’s setup, and they jammed side by side on various synths, reaching around each other and swapping positions before transitioning fluidly into the rousing sing-along ‘Best Be Believing’.
As they’re only one album deep, AlunaGeorge’s set was a snappy 45 minutes, but they closed out so triumphantly it was easy to forgive them. The penultimate song was a less clubby, more sensual cover of their huge collaboration with Disclosure, ‘White Noise’, and they rounded off a killer set with last year’s outstanding single ‘Your Drums, Your Love’.
BY RAF SENEVIRATNE