Well what can you expect? Former X-factor starlet Cher Lloyd is in the Midlands to play a sell out show to a ton of teeny-bobbers (Does anyone still use that phrase?) and all eyes are going to be watching her every move to see if anything messes up. In these days of celebrity culture, we look for the slightest defect that can be pinpointed and spiral out of control to either ruin or make a career over night. Well tonight, I am going to write this review based purely on the musicianship and the vocals, letting the music do the talking.
Personally, the support acts are laughable. First up is No Lights At Lockdown who entertain the crowd despite the awful vocals and shoddy performance. None of this appears to matter anymore! Still, they do a job and they’re off. Not my cup of tea at all I’m afraid. Next up are the hilarious SD-Jem. You know things are going well when one of the stage hands brings out a sign with ‘Birmingham’ written on it… The performance is even more laughable than the last act. I actually switched off and started to admire the architecture of the HMV Insitute instead.
So it’s time for the main act. The lights fade out and the kids down the front are screaming their lungs out as the band walk on stage. They start up the introduction to the immense ‘Dub on The Track’ then as the vocals kick in, Cher appears from behind a curtain on a platform raised above the drums. There appear to be a few issues regarding the vocals during this track and it becomes lost amongst the music and the screams. ‘Grow Up’ and ‘Love Me For Me’ follow and show the range of styles that can be found on Cher’s album ‘Sticks & Stones’. We’ve gone from Dubstep through to Pop and Ballad all within the space of ten minutes.
Cher walks off to the right hand side of the stage but remains in sight. There is no costume change but something now appears to be wrong. A few minutes pass with the band jamming on stage and the crowd repeatedly calling out her name. As she returns to the centre of the stage, she says ‘hello’ and apologises for the slight vocal issue blaming her battery pack which has now been replaced. We get a full introduction to the show and points up towards where the press are sat, but introduces her parents in the VIP box. We all seems friends now and the atmosphere is good. The one thing I have noticed so far, is that genuinely, the girl appears to be able to sing and very well at that.
The next big hit is ‘With Your Love’. The crowd are in jubilant mood by now and are waving their arms and mobile phones aloft singing every single word. They even manage to rap in unison, the Mike Posner rap in the middle 8. This is quite impressive watching a whole room do it. A few minutes later Cher takes things down a step. She is sat on the drum riser flanked by an acoustic guitar. It’s covers time… back to back we are treated to gentle renditions of Jason Derulo’s ‘Breathing’, Robyn’s ‘Dancing On My Own’ and Avril Lavigne’s ‘Complicated’. As predicted, the audience love this section. The set is picked back up with the addition of full band ‘Swagger Jagger’. Love it or loathe it, it works live.
There is a rawness with seeing Cher live that is not captured in a studio. The only thing that lets her down is the band. They sound weak and under prepared which means all the hard work is coming from Cher herself. The set closes with another cover, this time, Usher’s ‘OMG’ and her own ‘Talkin’ That’. As she leaves the stage the crowd are squealing out for more. One thing I can never get my head around with pop shows is how the audience differ and are so much louder… The band return for one final track, ‘Want U Back’. The whole room sways left to right as she prowls the stage preaching her words to the room. As the song finishes and we get the ‘bow of goodbye’ the smile across her face says everything you need to know. She has enjoyed it and is elated at the love in the room for her.
My overall feelings of this are that she is still in her infancy as a performer. Is was nice to see the songs still being moulded live and on the whole they sounded good, but her musicians need to either learn to play, or play louder. They let her down tonight, but luckily the 2,000 strong crowd carried it with her vocals. Her next tour and festival dates should be much more improved… hopefully.