It's easy to write off Katie Melua as the attractive face of a certain type of jazz-lite, but her live show proves there are many different sides to the 27-year-old Georgia-born singer.
Although initially appearing armed with only an acoustic guitar for a stripped-back rendition of Piece by Piece, the title track from her second album, she was quickly joined by the string quartet which forms the centrepiece of this year's Secret Symphony. Their creepy harmonics and dramatic backing put to rest any girl-next-door image I had of Melua during her wicked I'd Love to Kill You, and even managed to put a fresh spin on the perennially overplayed Closest Thing to Crazy. It was once the curtains opened to reveal her four-piece band, however, that Melua showed her true colours. While her more easy-listening numbers still verge on the point of soporific, between those she can play rock chick (If the Lights Go Out), disco diva (The Flood) and bluesy lounge singer (Same Hotel) with aplomb.
The perfectly pitched harmonies of Hamburg-based female duo BOY, opening, were an absolute treat with the bombastic pop of Little Numbers – all hand-claps and woah-oah-oahs – reminiscent of Leslie Feist at her most contagious.
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