Rumer, Royal Festival Hall, London – March 28th 2011
Monday nights are normally bereft of entertainment, but this week’s Monday bucked the trend with tickets to see last year’s breakthrough act du jour Rumer at the Royal Festival Hall. Outside, The Thames sparkled in anticipation; inside, wine glasses were refilled and we took our seats for Rumer and that voice. Let the seduction commence…
Rumer’s story is one that twinkles with hope. She had, so the story goes, been gigging for years before her album became a word-of-mouth hit last year, resulting in two Brit nominations as well as half a million sales and counting of Seasons Of My Soul. On Monday night she appeared on-stage with an eight-piece band ready to shuffle and twang their way through Rumer’s easy listening 70s cocktail hour-style catalogue – not quite Abigail’s party, but perhaps her second cousin’s. Rumer herself swayed in 70s attire, tottered on steep heels and looked uncomfortable ad-libbing between songs – but it’s the voice that we’d come to hear and that didn’t disappoint. Cool, steely and seductive, Rumer coated every word with her melancholic tones, gliding from her Karen Carpenter-esque dark-tinged delivery to a more upbeat but no less spellbindingly smooth canter.
Intertwined with the Seasons Of My Soul numbers were a selection of covers, including what Rumer labelled “boy songs” from Hall & Oates and Paul Simon, along with Bacharach’s Alfie and The Miracles’ You Really Got A Hold On Me. But it was her own Slow, Saving Grace, Blackbird and the show-stopping Aretha that really resonated with the crowd, who whooped and hollered while Rumer didn’t quite know where to look.
Rumer’s only starting out in her career so we won’t harp on about the fact that she needs to develop some stage presence – that and some lyrics that don’t constantly check springtime which seems to waft through most of her songs. Sure there are some shortcomings but amidst a sea of auto-tuned pop stars, Rumer has the golden ticket – a pure, classy voice that entrances from the off.