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
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.