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21st March 2015

Live: Neneh Cherry

With a new album finally under her belt, Neneh Cherry brings her live show to Gorilla with backing from RocketNumberNine

29th January



When Neneh Cherry first bounces on stage I overhear a nasally manc conversation behind me—”can’t believe I was 17 when she was first out.” A quick peek into my periphery reveals the the source of this voice as one of two guys standing behind with me. “I still would though,” replies his mate, and the two bob their shaved and shriveled old scrotum-like heads up and down with synchronised girly giggles. Time must have taken an unfair share of these ancient ravers’ youth and given it to Neneh Cherry. Even at the grand age of 50 she’s still killing it with the passion and energy of someone truly full of life and love for music.

But tonight’s audience isn’t just the tail end of the Hacienda generation. Having just released a new album, Blank Project, with instrumentals by RocketNumberNine and production by Four Tet, Neneh has no problem drawing a varied crowd. The vast majority of tonight’s set is drawn from the album, with Ben and Tom Page of RocketNumberNine recreating the album’s sound—albeit with a live rawness—with drums and synth. From the sparse drums of opener ‘Across the Water’, Neneh makes it clear the main sound tonight is her voice. Even when she’s not singing, she talks with the audience as if we were all an old friend, explaining to us the stories that her songs are spun from.

As entertaining as the songs off Blank Project are, the crowd surges with waves of nostalgia as Neneh brings up classics like ‘Warrior Stance’ and ‘Man Child’. It’s hard to say if RocketNumberNine’s instrumentation takes away from the moment but it definitely lacks the sheen of the songs they were originally involved with. Either way, the vibes are undeniably positive and its hard not to catch a giant smile from Neneh’s dangerously contagious happiness.

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