It’s been a pretty fantastic 2013 for AlunaGeorge. The talented duo placed second in the BBC Sound of Poll and also picked up a nomination for the Brits’ Critic’s Choice Award before releasing any solid body of work. It is mainly down to the brilliant pairing of Aluna Francis’ distinct and soulful vocal with George Reid’s masterful urban pop composition. Following the successes of ‘White Noise’ and their debut album Body Music, the band were booked for a number of high profile festival appearances before embarking on a sold out headline UK tour. We attended their show at The Library in Birmingham on Tuesday evening thanks to toastpress.com.
Walking into the moderate venue you could see that AlunaGeorge had gained acclaim and exposure in their short career as the room was rammed with fans. We eagerly awaited the band’s support, Danish singer songwriter Mø; I had heard particularly good things about her but I hadn’t had the chance to sit down with her EPs, so this was a real treat to discover a talented new artist. She performed an energetic and aggressive set with her shining, Scandinavian electro pop which was received brilliantly, definitely one to watch in 2014.
So it was time for the main event, the band had chosen the slot of 10pm, which seemed to suit the basement intimacy of opener ‘Just A Touch’, with its fractured riffs and glimmering synth, it sent pulses of excitement into the crowd whilst Aluna jovially skipped around the stage. The early singles came in the forms of ‘You Know You Like It’ and ‘Best Be Believing’ to which the crowd danced, sang and clapped along enthusiastically whilst Aluna conducted with ecstasy visible on her face.
Tempo slowed for album opener ‘Outlines’ which showcased the 90s R & B influence of Body Music and allowed Aluna to prove she is a competent vocalist and not simply George’s singing puppet. The duo then began to jam on synth keys which sounded immense in the intimate venue, but the chemistry between the duo seemed lacking. I would personally put this down to George’s unnatural behaviour to being on stage. They recovered quickly with their marvellous cover of Montell Jordan’s ‘This Is How We Do It’, they have identified the vibe match between the track and their stylings and it creates a frenzied reaction every time.
They wrapped up the main set with ‘Lost & Found’, a perfect choice with its retro riff and hybrid electro/pop/R & B breakdown as the crowd danced in unison whilst serenaded by that silky vocal. The band disappeared to cheers for an encore. The track that began it all for the duo ‘White Noise’ demanded roars of excitement from the crowd, but it doesn’t quite have the bite compared to when Disclosure perform, however the final ‘Your Drums, Your Love’ with deep, rich synth and a hook that goes for miles was utterly perfect.
AlunaGeorge are a competent live act who have developed greatly since I saw them nervously perform in a converted car park in Liverpool. They now need to identify the beats and moments within tracks such as ‘Attracting Flies’ and stretch them out to really make the most of an audience’s adoration; they have a handful of anthems within ‘Body Music’, they just need practising.