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The ’80s are back with Ladyhawke

ladyhawke1The Academy, February 5, 2009
It all started over an idle Tuesday lunch with a friend in the Dandelion in Dublin 2. Having bent the ears off my lunch buddy (by moaning about how my social life had become an unchanging snore fest) I was invited to attend a Ladyhawke gig at the Academy.
Raging with my music loving self for not having heard of the ’Hawke, I promptly said yes and counted down the days for my venture out on a school night – a freezing Thursday to be exact.
When we arrived, the sold out Academy was heaving. I noticed a lot of Doc Marten-clad female student types flashing IDs on their way in. Some were being refused entry due to to being under age, some because of their intoxicated state. Being in my early 30s, such a crowd demographic left me feeling a little nervous as to what exactly I was doing at such a gig, but all fears quickly subsided once I heard those Numanoid keyboards.
Miss Hawke, otherwise known as Pip Brown, wandered on stage sporting a Gibson Firebird, an oversized man’s t-shirt complete with rolled up sleeves and an obligatory ’80s rock headband. In comparison to costume king (and former bandmate) Nick Littlemore of Empire of the Sun fame, Ladyhawke’s choice of outfit left a quiet impact but an impact all the same. Opening with ‘Professional Suicide’, Brown’s kiwi accent quickly became apparent especially when it came to pronouncing the word ‘professional’. Easily comparable to Kim Wilde or Pat Benatar vocally, each song from the set sounded comfortingly familiar. ‘My Delirium’ bordered on anthematic while the delivery of the opening verse of ‘Better Than Sunday’ was hypnotic and robotic all at once.
Album artwork was visible on stage with illustrator Sarah Larnach (Ladyhawke’s best friend) providing an interesting backdrop of various cats prancing around in feline cuteness.
The gig in general was less than perfect, however. ‘Dusk till Dawn’ had to be abandoned initially due a hiccup with the drum machine but appeared later in the set to an obliging audience. And the vocals on ‘Crazy World’ were barely audible. But overall Ladyhawke and her band delivered a retro, unashamed homage to the electronic greats of the ’80s. Being a sufferer of Asperger’s Syndrome probably left her stage presence a little lacking but who needs ‘strut’ when the music speaks for itself.
Infinitely more credible that Lady GaGa, Ladyhawke is one to watch for 2009. Catch her at Oxegen in July.


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