Little Boots Hops the Pond to Rock the Fillmore

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Little Boots
Kalesa recaps Little Boots's concert at the Fillmo...

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The Fillmore auditorium in San Francisco is legendary, though probably not for British female electro-dance-pop. But there's a first for everything, right? On March 9th, Victoria Hesketh, otherwise known as Little Boots, appeared on a dark-lit stage wearing a cult-like hooded gold cape, softly playing piano. The lights and beats multiplied, Hesketh threw off the robe and burst into her first US single, "New in Town." A manic audience broke out in applause. The uber-pop track boasted, "I wanna take you out tonight, I'm gonna make you feel alright I don't have a penny but I'll show you a real good time." While she may not have made history, Hesketh certainly showed the crowd a damn good time.

The platinum blonde, pint-sized singer shimmered, dancing around in her golden mini dress with an ornately flowered upper half, like a giant corsage. She sweet-talked the audience between her synth heavy dance tracks. The only problem: Her thick English (Blackpool to be precise) accent made her nearly unintelligible. Like fellow Brit Liam Gallagher of Oasis on Total Request Live, she needed subtitles. Missed jokes aside, the novelty was amusing in itself, and Hesketh was far more humble than any Oasis member.

Little Boots was named as BBC's number one artist on their Sound of 2009 list, and has built up a cult following from her YouTube videos of covering Hot Chip tracks in her pajamas. On Tuesday, the multi-talented songstress started with piano, then moved onto her signature toy, the Tenori-on (a Japanese light/sound box that creates electronic sequences at the touch of a finger) and, at one point, pulled out a keytar. Throughout the show Hesketh maintained her powerful but delicate vocals, proving that synthesized music can be good live.

Her electro-pop sound may be dismissed as bubble gum, but multiple songs on her debut album, Hands, have beautifully layered beats and heartfelt lyrics that translate pretty well to the stage. Little Boots is part spectacle; the show's songs, graphics and wardrobe were all very cosmic. Hesketh must have an affinity for futuristic outer space. Or maybe just shiny things.

The set had a nice balance to it. The more intricate songs interlaced with the dancy house tracks. When Hesketh played "Meddle," a complex, haunting, but catchy-as-hell track, she asked the crowd to join in unison with the Tenori-on, mocking the robotic voice that seemed to ribbit, "yep ... yep yep". The audience willfully complied, mesmerized by the light show of the Tenori-on and the engulfing beats of the song.

When the set ended, Hesketh left the stage without having sung one of her most popular tracks, "Stuck On Repeat." The crowd chanted, itching for the encore they knew was coming. When Hesketh arrived back on stage she huddled behind her piano and played naive: "What else could I sing ... oh here's a new one." Finally she sang a mellow, piano only version of "Repeat."

The air of disappointment in the crowd was obvious, but as some turned to go, thinking the show was over, the lights flashed, the beat kicked in and Hesketh burst forward again, now in a black sequined number, epically belting out the real version of the song they'd all been waiting for. What a tease! It was worth it though. The audience rose and fell as one, losing themselves to the music. It was a truly climactic moment, skillfully orchestrated by Hesketh. No, there was no insane Fillmore-in-the-'60s, Grateful Dead-esque impromptu guitar solos, but there was a crazy flashing light box, heart-pounding beats and fun costumes. So dance your ass off.

Dance your ass off with Kalesa at [email protected]

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