Although it may be rooted in the sweet soul pop and glam of the early 1990’s Pip Brown’s music and stage performance remains a crisper, more economical version those glamorous disco idols like Michael Jackson and Donna Summer. As we’ve come to expect, Brown appears without fanfare on Bodega’s small but perfectly formed stage to deliver a packed room of all ages, genders and persuasions to her snappy 14 song set.
We all know about Pip’s stage anxieties, so getting a Hollywood style performance was never on the cards, but I gotta admit there was a certain confidence and comfort that I’ve not seen before. There was even a little bit of chat, with an acknowledgement of Bodega’s upcoming closing and some thanks, too. Pip’s early career was built on this stage and she was keen to let us know.
Dressed in sweatshirt and baseball cap and flanked by a guitarist, bass played and drummer, plus a few simple digi-toys like a MPC unit and laptop, Brown launches into The River, Golden Girl from the new album, Wild Things bookended by Another Runaway and Manipulating Woman, from her debut. If anything, it showed how consistent Brown’s writing is, and how over three albums her style has remained constant – sweet pop with wistful hints of disco and the occasional dark tones.
There are a few slightly rockier moments, especially Professional Suicide, which Pip finished strongly belting out the vocals with intention and conviction. Likewise, she carried off Love Don’t Live here and Dusk Till Dawn, one of her first singles will similar aplomb. Given her recent release of a new disc it was rather surprising how many songs came from her debut – 9 in all, with only 5 from Wild Things. A bit disappointing.
Bassist ‘Tom’, drummer ‘Matt’ and ‘Nick’, on “other stuff” (they don’t reveal their surnames publicly) provided the energy and stage presence playing well as a team and genuinely seeming to have fun.
This is the second of a three date whirlwind tour across three major cities, so sadly the provinces won’t get to hear her new single A Love Song, or the closing number Paris is Burning and the ‘one and only’ encore Delirium. All were, as they say, short but perfectly formed. It is great to see Pip back on the road, and on her ‘hometown’ stage. She’s often said that the reason there were such large gaps between her three albums was that, as a perfectionist, she’s never content to release substandard work. With this new album being slightly more funky than her last and the return of her appetite for the stage, let’s hope we see more of her in the future.
Originally published at 13thfloor.co.nz