Against the colourful lights of the cinematic tropical set, real butterflies could be seen silhouetted and fluttering their confusion. Fooled by the high Easter temperatures and laid back reggae feel to Never Ever and Quicksand from Caro Emerald’s new EP Emerald Island they had inadvertently flown into a climate that suited them.
Award-winning jazz vocalist, Caro Emerald was certainly no fading wallflower on this island. Pregnant and in full bloom, she danced her way through tracks from her multi-platinum debut album Deleted Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor such as the debut single ‘Back it Up’ which was led by both a percussion and drum section.
It is her most extensive UK tour yet and any signs of fatigue were not given away during the high energy performance. The roaring electro swing gave way to some heavy electronic bass breaks and outstanding saxophone melodies and riffs from David Temple who had previously worked on Amy Winehouse’s first album.
The first half of the set flowed seamlessly but provided little contrast. Nothing that a good costume change could not fix though as Caro dazzled and glittered in her usual pin-up style. The Argentinian tango-style ‘Tangled Up’ from her second album, the Shocking Miss Emerald, highlighted her precise phrasing and expressive way that she was able to get the lyrics across.
There is a physicality in the way that Caro Emerald delivers a song that keeps your eyes focused on her, despite there being a seven-piece band. The lively instrumental that played as she went off for a second costume change really gave them a chance to shine.
Her warmer, richer jazz tones really came out during her rendition of Nat King Cole’s ‘Natures Boy’ which provided excellent contrast to the rest of the set. Pre-programmed by watching Caro sing ‘That Man’, a song reminiscent of Benny Goodman’s ‘Sing Sing Sing’, on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, the audience leapt into furious action. Like the butterflies, this staid middle-aged audience had inadvertently found a climate that suited them.