The below review from the Telegraph today.
Raising the money – and the roof
POP Teenage Cancer Trust Concert
NOW in their eighth year, the Teenage Cancer Trust gigs have become a rare thing: a musical event for charity that raises money for the cause while producing exemplary performances from the musicians – without too much selfaggrandisement.
New star Duffy fitted perfectly into this tradition. Despite being catapulted into the limelight with a numberone single and album this year, the 22-year-old showed no signs of nerves as she sashayed on stage like the sassiest girl from the valleys – a Top Shop Diana Dors in spray-on jeans, sailorstriped vest and peep-toe shoes. She introduced herself in a quiet, faltering voice, but when she began to sing, she nearly lifted the roof off the Albert Hall.
“There are more people here tonight than live in my entire village,” she quipped. Her sunny composure and easy banter were astounding, making her seem old beyond her years. Having honed her live show in a retro supperclub, she brought the air of Seventies Saturdaynight cabaret to the stage, and, rather than Dusty Springfield, she reminded you of Cilla Black or Lulu, hitting the high notes with a wink in her eye.
After the histrionic body-contortions of singers such as Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera, Duffy’s unflinching delivery – nothing more than a languid flick of the right arm – was impressive, but it did make her seem disconnected from the songs’ broken-hearted emotions. But the mood never flagged for long. Ending with her uptempo number-one, Mercy, she danced like a mum on too many Bacardis, and the mums in the audience gleefully joined in.
Unlike Duffy, Paul Weller has form in this venue. Nineteen years ago, the Style Council played their last ever gig here to a jeering audience, outraged at Weller’s embrace of house music. Approaching 50 this year, Weller has since rehabilitated himself, returning to the guitar and becoming godfather to Britpop in the Nineties and now to the second wave of laddish guitar bands such as the Kaiser Chiefs and the Arctic Monkeys.
But he has clearly lost none of that defiance. Rather than rolling out the hits, he played a stark, stripped-down acoustic set of songs from his solo albums, accompanied by Steve Cradock, an acolyte from Britpop band Ocean Colour Scene. Despite having aged from a whippet-thin boy into a muscular, middleaged man, Weller was still squeezed into the mod uniform of skinny jeans and polo shirt, while the grey hair was arranged in an angrily razored feather cut.
Indeed, despite singing an entire set of hippyish love songs, everything about Weller still bristled with anger: clutching his guitar like a machine gun, eyes clamped shut, red-faced with intensity.
The mood darkened like a requiem mass but the large contingency of dad-rock fans made a more patient audience than from the past, who were finally rewarded with an ironic encore of That’s Entertainment. Bernadette McNulty