Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Gig review: Ronika

Last night, Ronika did an EP launch in a room above a pub with a glitter ball on the ceiling*...

The Nottingam-born singer (real name Veronica Sampson, according to ASCAP) is so steeped in 1980's iconography you expect her to arrive on stage in a De Lorean, sipping a Dr Pepper, clutching a poster of Ralph Macchio.

She doesn’t, though. She simply strolls through the crowd, clambers over the lip of the stage and starts singing. It’s not the classiest entrance in pop history, but this girl has the poise to pull it off.

Ronika is relatively new to the live 'arena' but she's already perfected her Goldfrappian ice maiden death-stare. Her stage patter has a similarly bleak humour: "I’d like to introduce you to my band: Exhibit A, Exhibit B and Exhibit C."

Not that this is a seriousface pop tragedy. Ronika also breaks out the robot dance, and the double handclaps, while her tight blonde curls literally bounce to the beat. The choreography has been lovingly cribbed from the early, clumsy TV appearances of a certain Madonna, before she started looking like a frayed rope.

If you're a regular reader, you'll already know that Ronika's retro rollerdisco funk gets a big thumbs up from us here at Discopop Towers. It works just as well live, complete with choppy Chic guitars, crunchy Linn drums, and a surprisingly limber man (I think he was Exhibit B) playing frankly impossible bass runs. Ronika, who had lost her voice earlier in the day, sounded studio-perfect. Breathy and peppy in equal measure.

It's still early days for the project. I'm told an album of demos will be ready by the summer, after which the real work of finding a record label starts. But with a bit of luck, Ronika should become a star bigger than the fluorescent sweatbands on her wrist.

*This picture by Dom Henry was taken at a completely different show, because some cretin stole my phone last night. This is what you get for going to East London, folks.

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