London really ought to be on first-name terms with Banks by now. The LA native has signed her record deal here and called her first release the London EP but we still don’t know what she’s really called.
That hasn’t stopped the 25-year-old from selling out this decent-sized debut headline show in just two hours. She already has the O2 Arena booked too, later this month as support to The Weeknd.
Even so, these are early days. She played just eight songs including one cover, and the styles on display suggested she might end up as anything from the clubbers’ cult comedown queen, a female James Blake, to a big-lunged pop showstopper.
Largely, backed by drum pads and a keyboardist who occasionally brushed a guitar, she concealed her natural abilities with technology. On This is What it Feels Like there seemed to be about 20 of her singing at once. A few songs had plenty of atmosphere but were standoffish, refusing to leap forward from the synthesised fug.
Contrastingly, looks-wise she couldn’t fail to make an impression with pulled-back black hair, cheekbones thrusting skywards, dancing from the hips in PVC. Then she proved that her voice can really go places without digital airbrushing, swooping from a falsetto flutter to heavyweight soul on a version of Lauryn Hill’s Ex-Factor that came close to overegging.
There were detours towards the jazz supperclub on an acoustic take on Warm Water, and the pop arena when she instigated mass arm-waving at the catchy climax of Change.
She’ll need to find her own space soon, because as the music industry gears up to launch its stars of 2014 there is no shortage of female electronica ice queens. It’s not clear just yet whether she has a bankable future.
Nov 26, O2 Arena, SE10 (0844 824 4824, the02.co.uk)