Last September when Victoria Hesketh played New York’s Bowery Ballroom, she was still a relatively unknown Brit pop singer, trying to make it big in America. In her native Britain, Hands, her debut album, had been out since last June; American fans, lest they wanted to actually steal from Little Boots, were made to settle for the far inferior Illuminations EP. However, despite this, Little Boots has commanded almost a cult-like following of fans, and easily sold out her Bowery show. Now, almost six months later, the English singer/songwriter has returned to support the official release of Hands here in the U.S. with a short spring tour.
It seemed only fitting that Hesketh chose to play New York City on the night of Hands’ release. As expected, her fans turned out in droves, selling out the Highline Ballroom. Unfortunately, while Little Boots did play a wildly entertaining show that was both auditorily pleasing and visually spellbinding, minus some new lasers and Lady Gaga inspired outfits, the show at Highline felt like it was lacking something.
Little Boots, draped in a shiny full-length robe with hood, took to the stage just after ten. Seated behind her orange Korg near the back of the stage, Boots opened her set with the regimented “Ghosts”. Upon the song’s completion she wasted no time in dropping her cloak, revealing a frilly, gold get-up, and launched right into “New in Town”, the opening track from Hands. With stage lights pulsing and lasers firing throughout the room (Hesketh disclosed that she sort of had a love for lasers), Little Boots seemed in her element. She rattled off “Hearts Collide”, “ Mathematics”, and “Symmetry”, before leaving the stage for an extended costume change.
Boots retook the stage, again dressed in a cloak. Standing on top of a riser in front of her Korg, she stood with her arms spread out by her sides, while a bright beam of light shot up from the floor in front of her. The beam then separated into multiple beams of equal strength. This, ladies and gentleman, was Little Boots’ laser harp, a device that would make any laser-fetishist quiver with excitement. Boots played this harp by blocking the beams of light at different heights, thereby controlling the notes and pitch. Exciting just to watch her meddle with, when Boots actually used the device to play “Earthquake” it was quite the impressive feat.
Upon the conclusion of “Earthquake” the harp’s beams merged back together before being extinguished, not to return for the rest of the show. Boots went on to close her set with fan-favorite “Meddle” and “Remedy” (it was during these songs that her Tenori-on, a staple at her shows, saw its greatest use). Playing only eight songs at this point, Boots owed her fans an encore. Soon, she again took a seat behind the Korg and played the unreleased “Echoes”, a piano ballad inspired by the Twilight book series. Boots finished the encore by playing “Stuck on Repeat” (both an abbreviated piano version and full electro-pop version).
After the final notes of “Repeat” had wrung out, the lasers were turned off and the house lights came up. It was at this point that it became more evident of what was lacking – a longer set. Little Boots barely played for an hour. Sure, she only had one full LP and another half dozen or so miscellaneous tracks to work with, but the set just seemed too abbreviated. Maybe Boots was still jet lagged from her trip from Britain; maybe she was running late in getting to her after-show party down the block; maybe she wanted to save the audience from epileptic seizures stemming from prolonged laser exposure. Whatever the case was, the show was short. This is not to say that what she did play wasn’t amazing, because it was. Hopefully though, as Little Boots continues to pick up fans (which she will do), her shows will run just a little bit longer.
New In Town
Stuck on Repeat