Me­lanie C de­liv­ers a com­fort­ing balm of pop nostal­gia

Me­lanie C shows her com­fort zone is still in the hits that made her name as she rocks Bois­dale Of Ca­nary Wharf

The Wharf - - News - Go to bois­dale.co.uk for more in­for­ma­tion Jon Massey

Me­lanie C can do what she wants. She’s a global star, a fifth of a pop band that took mar­ket­ing to un­prece­dented lev­els in the 1990s, win­ning writ­ing cred­its on many of their in­ter­na­tional hits.

It’s rea­son­able to as­sume the re­sul­tant wealth has left her in­de­pen­dent, a free agent in so much as any of us are.

Why choose a res­i­dency at Bois­dale of Ca­nary Wharf – an in­ti­mate club with a stage that’s all ex­po­sure for the artists grac­ing it for the plea­sure of the din­ers, then?

It’s a long way from per­form­ing for the un­re­al­ity of thou­sands in sta­di­ums, an aban­don­ing of her com­fort zone.

Hav­ing emerged from the ashes of the Spice Girls’ first col­lapse as both the most suc­cess­ful and cred­i­ble solo artist, it’s the lat­ter that pre­sum­ably drives her on.

Hav­ing es­caped in­dus­try man­u­fac­ture, Me­lanie’s out to prove she’s a mu­si­cian, mem­o­rably cit­ing Brit­pop roy­alty as in­flu­ences on her first break­out record, North­ern Star.

Some scoffed, but it was a clear de­par­ture and a com­mer­cial success.

Clearly a mu­sic lover, given her set list on Tues­day at Bois­dale and the de­ci­sion to record a forth­com­ing al­bum of cov­ers,

there’s some irony she still ex­cels at the pop that made her name.

Sat above Cabot Square, it was ren­di­tions of Two Be­come One, I Turn To You and

North­ern Star that felt good. Per­haps it was nostal­gia or just the fa­mil­iar feel of well-worn gloves, but Me­lanie pro­jected a com­fort and ease with such ma­te­rial that car­ried the room along with it.

This sep­a­ra­tion be­tween pop and rock was aptly demon­strated by two of the new cov­ers – REM’s This One Goes Out To The

One I Love and Brit­ney Spears’ Toxic. The lat­ter, hav­ing one of its first ever per­for­mances to pay­ing pun­ters, was by far the stronger and made best use of her strong, po­tent vo­cals which at times nearly reached Ala­nis Moris­sette-level twists.

But the past let her down with the REM. Her ren­di­tion was too whole­some in the verse, gloss­ing over Michael Stipe’s brit­tle qua­ver­ing on the orig­i­nal, fail­ing to leave a dis­tinct im­print, be­yond homage.

Broadly, go for the undis­puted thrill of a su­per­star up close, stay for the nostal­gia.

Me­lanie C’s res­i­dency at Bois­dale con­tin­ues un­til Satur­day May 26. Tick­ets start at £45 with no food or £85 with a three-course meal. The shows are at 9.15pm on Thurs­day and 9.45pm on Fri­day and Satur­day.

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