Saturday, August 2, 2008

02 Aug: Duffy Live@ the Phoenix in Toronto

Well who knows how she did it (was the last gig at Lollopolooza Festival on 1st or 2nd of Aug as the "live" webcast suggested?) but Duffy did actualy make it to the Toronoto gig.

If you know the setlist, have any pics/vids/reviews then please leave a comment.

I found the below review from here.

Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto - August 2, 2008

Aimee Duffy has soul
By -- Sun Media

When Amy Winehouse came onto the scene she had her share of comparisons.

So it only seems natural that any young British female performer who has a style along the lines of the soulful lady continuously in and out of rehab would face a similar comparison.

One of the new British soul singers is wee Welsh lass Aimee Duffy, known simply to all as Duffy. And as she showed Saturday night at Toronto's Phoenix Concert Theatre, she could hold her own against Winehouse.

Well, at times she could.

Touring behind her debut self-titled record, Duffy took the first few numbers of her hour-long, 13-song set to fine her voice literally among her six-piece group. Wearing a short red dress and initially seeming a bit stiff on stage, Duffy sounded rather shrill than soulful on Syrup & Honey as she stopped the song to say "Good evening Toronto!"

This shrill was even more evident and more irritating during Rockferry, the title track off her album that had her swaying while twirling her microphone the way a stripper would twirl a skimpy undergarment.

After thanking the crowd for coming out, Duffy rounded into shape vocally during the light R 'n B tune Hanging On Too Long which had her hitting the high notes far better than earlier.

It also demonstrated that while a performer like Winehouse seems to hit those soulful notes easily, Duffy has to work a bit hard to get there as was the case on the funky Serious. "I must apologize before I begin, I can't dance," she said prior to the song before getting some semblance of a moderate groove on.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night was the quality of material she performed that somehow didn't find its way on the album. The first of these was Breaking My Own Heart, a dark, sassy tune that Duffy deftly delivered despite rarely working the stage or interacting with the crowd.

And by the time she started the retro-soul nugget Warwick Avenue a cappella, she definitely felt more in her realm, standing on the drum riser and holding the long notes perfectly. If there was one minor drawback, it might be the fact she could've done the whole song a cappella for an even better result.

Stating the audience "might know this one," Duffy and company revamped Cry To Me to suit her retro-soul style, a track previously done by Solomon Burke and the Rolling Stones.

Following Stepping Stone which got a great response but wasn't a huge highlight, the singer again tossed out "another song that you don't know" in Tomorrow (no, not the song from the musical Annie). Rooted in a thick groove and far more up-tempo than most of the other dozen tunes performed, the song was easily one of the more memorable moments.

Unfortunately with just the one album to her name, Duffy closed the main portion off with the Motown-oriented Mercy while turning the microphone towards the crowd for them to finish off a few lyrics.

The encore ended with Duffy leaving on a high note in Distant Dreamer, a slow-building song that had a big and somewhat bombastic coda.

Duffy may not be the next Amy Winehouse but given Winehouse's dramatic, drug-induced demise, who would want to be?

There is a review by the Toronto Star below:
Duffy off to a soulful start

Diva-in-the-making Duffy's awkward charm and lack of polish is a perfect foil to fellow U.K. soulster Amy Winehouse, a Betty to Winehouse's Veronica. Duffy played the Phoenix Aug. 2, 2008.

Welsh singer could use a few more songs under her belt, but shows promise in hour-long set

Pop Music Critic

Although Duffy is officially the biggest pop star of the year in the U.K., where she's sold a million copies of her debut album, Rockferry, the Welsh R&B belter still comes across as a charmingly unformed talent onstage.

Playing to a packed house at the Phoenix on Saturday night, the petite, blonde vocal powerhouse was a delight to watch even when the set dipped into filler, just because one could see her physically grappling with the mechanics of performance.

She's got the singing part down – that voice is effortlessly enormous well before Duffy really lets it rip – but her giggly, self-deprecating stage banter and self-consciously stiff attempts at such standard diva functions as moving in time to the music and twirling the microphone on its cable betrayed a young starlet not yet flush with the ironclad confidence usually attributed to pop phenoms.

No, small-town gal Aimee Anne Duffy seems a very real sort. Endearingly nerdy, she has little of the stylized poise and ineffable cool of her neo-soul foil Amy Winehouse – who's come to play Veronica to Duffy's squeaky clean Betty in the hyperactive U.K. press – and only seems truly at ease onstage when she's got a song to sing.

We mentioned she can sing, though, right? Duffy made that clear from the start on Saturday, kicking off her brisk, hour-long show by roaring into a sultry, a cappella verse from "Syrup & Honey" that had the fawning crowd on side immediately.

That crowd was mostly composed of women in packs or with tolerant husbands and boyfriends by their sides, joined by a large, loud contingent of super-fans from nearby Boystown. She might hate the Dusty Springfield comparisons, but Duffy's husky, flint-edged vocal theatrics appear to have earned her an early lock on the same gay audience.

"This is a gay man's dream," my girlfriend marvelled when the room erupted in noticeably un-girlish squeals for "Mercy." "This is Bette Midler at the bathhouses." She might be onto something.

True, with only the uneven Rockferry to pull from, the 24-year-old singer is still a little light on material to construct a totally satisfying set list.

There was a noticeable increase in chatter in the room between surefire hits like "Rockferry" and the delightful "Serious," although Duffy could usually shut the room up when a tune like "Hanging on Too Long" hung on too long by letting loose into the mike.

Nevertheless, it's going to take another album or two and, perhaps, a few more songs that rise above the mid-tempo doldrums – the Philly-soul glide of "Tomorrow," a lesser-known B-side dropped at the end of her set, is a good start – before Duffy truly comes into her own as a live performer. When she gets there, though, it should be good.
The below photo is from the paper version of the Toronto Star. Click it to see a larger image.


Anonymous said...

Her performance at lollapalooza was actually the 1st, according to the schedule (3:15-4:15)

The AT&T blue room just broadcasted it a day later. So in fact it was not live. I Think they just made a compilation of the best acts of the festival.

Duffy was not even scheduled on the second day at lollapalooza zo time enough to make it to the Phoenix in Toronto.

Anonymous said...

"It also demonstrated that while a performer like Winehouse seems to hit those soulful notes easily..."

Erm, Winehouse has NEVER hit such high notes as Duffy does in Syrup & Honey, Rockferry, Mercy, etc. End of.

Anonymous said...

I don't mind the critics disliking Duffy but it's so annoying when they get their facts wrong, especially when that shows their musically illiterate.

old git said...

Someone quoted by the Toronto Star:
"This is a gay man's dream,"

I think she appeals to straight men just as much, speaking as a straight man!