Live at The Cluny, Newcastle

Marina Celeste is probably best known as a regular member of Nouvelle Vague’s revolving line-up of sultry French vocalists but tonight she’s in Newcastle with her own two-piece band (plus some laptop percussion) to promote her latest album The Angel Pop, a collaboration with Terry Hall of The Specials. Entering the stage to a stilted version of The Cure’s "A Forrest" and a couple of slightly flat original numbers it’s fair to say that the opening fails to lift the crowd, many of which are lazily sat on the floor (presumably drained from a sunny afternoon of beer garden drunkenness). It’s only Celeste’s alluring stage presence that energizes the lethargic audience during the early stages of this performance, one of the singer’s many eccentricities seems to involve periodically removing socks and then putting them back on again. It doesn’t take too long for the band to find their feet though and after a crowd pleasing rendition of "The Guns Of Brixton", they hit their stride with the gorgeously sparse ballad "Manha De Carnaval". This mid-set peak seems to alleviate the awkward atmosphere in the room and Celeste is free to roam the Cluny audience on several occasions during a sprightly finale which includes the poppy new album track "Watching You Naked". This turnaround is topped off by a rewarding second encore of "Love Will Tear Us Apart" which gets even the more reserved audience members onto their feet for a subdued sing-a-long.