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Issue 1084

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Melanie Fiona: London's Scala 24/03/09

MELANIE FIONA: THE SCALA 24/03/09
MELANIE FIONA: THE SCALA 24/03/09 MELANIE FIONA: THE SCALA 24/03/09 MELANIE FIONA: THE SCALA 24/03/09 MELANIE FIONA: THE SCALA 24/03/09 MELANIE FIONA: THE SCALA 24/03/09 MELANIE FIONA: THE SCALA 24/03/09 MELANIE FIONA: THE SCALA 24/03/09 MELANIE FIONA: THE SCALA 24/03/09 MELANIE FIONA: THE SCALA 24/03/09

O-k, so you know we pride ourselves on finding talent before the rest. Well, we've gone and done it again - So before I pat myself on the back I'll explain... The artist - Melanie Fiona... The Venue - London's Scala...

If I had to pigeon hole her style, I'd say "a nice little R&B lick, with bags of soul thrown in for good measure - and her voice isn't bad either!?" Scala in London's Kings cross was playing host to slightly different gendered Mr Hudson, who are by the way signed to Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Music label. It was this quirk of fate that brought Fiona to this venue, on this evening, as she was playing the supporting role (on this occasion) as she did for West last year.

The only job a decent warm-up act has to do is, believe it or not - warm the crowd up!? And beeeelieve me I've seen plenty that don't!... On this occasion - this particular warm-up vocal went down an absolute storm from the off, as the expectant crowd who had been thronging and buzzing for Mr H were suddenly meet full on by Hurricane Fiona! She introduced her band from New York, her brass section from London and herself - who had flown in especially from Canada - you kinda knew she meant business, and how right we were. As she let her distinctive vocal off its leash from the very first note of opening song 'Bang Bang' (very apt). The crowd's attention was at max, while they gave their blessing for what they were about to receive - Second song, and looking set to send Miss Fiona straight to the top of the charts came the instantly catchy (I can't stress that enough) 'Give it to me Right.' Featuring the sample of the Zombies cooool classic, 'Time Of The Season.'

Now this is where this review gets interesting, sorry MORE interesting... As the band pick up the tempo for the third and penultimate tune, this was a homage to her friend and Hudson's label owner (you gotta hand it to her) Kanye West and his tune 'Heartless'. But this version had none of the plodding of its counterpart, this was a full on funky-ass performance with dare I say it - Alicia Keys inflections on the bottom end of Fiona's voice... But it doesn't stop there, Ooo-no... After the crowd had gone absolutely crazy for this tune - especially the preppy chic amongst them (you know who you are geeks!).

She rounds off her performance with a scorcher called 'Ay Yo.' This, not only as instantly likable as the present single 'Give It To Me Right' and just as strong, but just as catchy with summer groove written all over it... And did I mention that the top of her voice on this track has semi-tones of Lauren Hill?! How dare she! Alicia and Lauren, bloody cheek!!... With Melanie Fiona sandwiched firmly in between - somebody stop this woman before she takes over the world!!... But seriously, this was a superb clutch of songs from a mesmerizing, capable and highly infectious artist, and she left the audience wanting more and THEN some. What more could you ask? Well, not much - Looking forward to hearing more from Melanie Fiona.

Check out tracks mentioned in this review at www.myspace.com/melaniefiona

All photos care of Romain Kedochim. For more visit ROMAIN PHOTOGRAPHY
Words LEE TYLER

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