The ’70s and ’80s were alive and more than well in Brooklyn Wednesday night as the Music Hall of Williamsburg welcomed local heroes Midnight Magic and headliner La Roux. Both acts delivered intimate performance to 500 of their fans after their Governor’s Ball festival appearance last week.
Midnight Magic warmed the crowd up, drawing on funk and soul music before unleashing full disco and getting a reluctant audience to sway and nod, if not actually dance. The eight-piece group included a horn section, which drew the most cheers for their individual solos, as did satin-voiced singer Tiffany Roth.
Moving the needle a decade forward, ’80s synth-pop revivalists La Roux took the stage to remind us of everything good about that sound (the fun, the dancing, the dark and moody undertones) with none of the bad (the cheese). Now a five-piece fronted by founder-singer-songwriter Elly Jackson, La Roux is promoting their upcoming sophomore album, Trouble in Paradise, due in July. With only two singles yet released, fans heared many new tracks for the first time and welcomed them with open arms.
Half of La Roux’s set was devoted to the new material, easily interwoven with songs from their debut. Whether the bass-driven stomping “Cruel Sexuality” or the plinky, deceptively sweet-sounding “Sexoteque,” the crowd was fully enthralled. “Silent Partner,” a song creepily villainous that somehow also gives the feeling of being hunted, featured an extended dance break with added percussion that grabbed the room and turned the set into a (dark) party.
Jackson herself was in fine form. Her voice is high and delicate, at risk of being lost in a live setting, but she came through crisp and clear. She was in high spirits, in constant motion dancing onstage to every song, joking with the crowd, and fielding errant balloons (“Where did these come from? This is not a Flaming Lips gig, guys!”). She also took a moment to thank the audience for sticking around during the five years between albums, insisting it was not a “hiatus,” as has often been said, but time spent making the new album “like normal people.” Keyboardist Mickey O’Brien also performed backing-vocals, adding depth and occasional harmonies without distracting from Jackson’s signature voice.
La Roux saved their biggest hit, “Bulletproof,” for the encore, making it a triumphant close. The band took a group bow before dancing off to Chic’s “Le Freak,” and leaving the audience to dance their way out as well.
1. Let Me Down Gently
3. Kiss and Not Tell
5. Growing Pains
6. Cruel Sexuality
8. I’m Not Your Toy
9. Tropical Chancer
10. Uptight Downtown
11. In for the Kill
12. Colourless Colour
13. Silent Partner