Governor Hindmarsh Hotel, Fri 18 Jan.
Beginning proceedings tonight is Belgian act WWWater, an electro-pop trio featuring vocalist Charlotte Adigéry, with drummer Steve Slingeneyer and synth player Boris Zeebroek. Charlotte is energetic and her vocal range impressive, Steve’s rhythms are powerful and WWWater do a good job getting the evening underway.
The first thing to note about Neneh Cherry’s band is their size – the six-piece band including husband Cameron McVey fill the stage with an array of instruments from harp to turntable to various keyboards, vibraphone and percussive instruments – visually different from the last time Neneh appeared at WOMADelaide backed by an electronica duo. The dexterity and musicianship on show as most of the players deftly change instruments between songs is impressive. And then there is their general aura of happiness and enthusiasm, which is infectious. The vibrant smile of percussionist Rosie Bergonzi is typical of a band which appears to be enjoying their work.
Despite all this, Neneh Cherry remains at all times firmly in control. She is warm and chatty with the audience, relating tales of her adventures in Adelaide, but a problem with the sound means that a song is stopped and not restarted until she is happy the problem has been fixed.
The set is taken largely from her most recent release, Broken Politics. The material may be a little mellower than in years past, but there is a worldly maturity underpinned at all times by an irresistible groove. Perhaps the age range within the band means that all bases are covered! There is for the fans a foray into some older material, such as I’ve Got You Under My Skin from the Red Hot + Blue project, as well as Manchild and Buffalo Stance.
The performance seems to end too quickly at just over an hour, but the band is enticed back for an encore which includes the album closer Soldier, and a near capacity crowd leave well-satisfied.
Images courtesy of Adrian Miller
– Cover image ~ Neneh Cherry
– Centre image ~ WWWater