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Review: Paloma Faith at the Leas Cliff Hall, Folkestone, November 2014

Do you want the truth or something beautiful? In this case, you can have both (though not the song itself).

The truth is that anyone hoping for the full back catalogue of Paloma Faith's hits (New York, Upside Down, Do You Want The Truth Or Something Beautiful, Never Tear Us Apart) at her Folkestone concert was not going to have those expectations fully realised.

What's beautiful is that, instead, us lucky ticket-holders to the sold-out gig at the Leas Cliff Hall were treated to a passionate, punchy new programme hinged mainly on the re-issue of her third and latest album, A Perfect Contradiction, featuring additional new tracks and called the Outsiders' Edition.

Paloma Faith
Paloma Faith

Swishing a mane of blonde hair (not red, as it was in the promotional shoot and artwork for this latest album) and wearing a green sequinned '60s-style shift dress, the stunning starlet told us in her characteristically squeaky-voiced London accent that the Outsiders' Edition was so-named after the experience of going to No. 1 as the vocalist on Sigma's chart drum 'n' bass track, Changing, in September: the subsequent tour of the type of radio stations 'who'd rather not have me' was the inspiration.

But it couldn't have been sympathy that Paloma was after: she certainly didn't inhabit the part of the outsider for a second. The adoration of her screaming crowd was evident in the frequent shouted proclamations of love from the floor, in the posters and signs that some in the audience had created to hold up in the hope of catching their idol's eye, and in the carefully-prepared scrapbook that two devoted fans presented up to the stage.

The cheeky banter Paloma is known for was frequently on-hand. "This is a two-way exchange," she instructed us, "... otherwise I'll just do the quiet ones."

Paloma Faith
Paloma Faith

It was Picking Up The Pieces from her previous album, Fall To Grace, which got the momentum going and set the bar high; a superb show-starter which managed capture the rawness of the story (of a relationship overshadowed by the memory of his ex) and yet exuded the polished performance of a pro.

Mouth to Mouth was a fun and fruity taste of the goods from the new album, with an eighties soul vibe. Paloma was upfront with her crowd when she said the concert was all about the new album, and moved us into a selection of the additional tracks, including the dramatic ballad Leave While I'm Not Looking.

Then we were in for an unexpected treat as the singer delivered her own rendition of Roy Orbison's Crying in English and Spanish, in a salute to her English-Spanish heritage. She shared that people frequently assume she's got no idea of her own origins, saying: "You know your name's a Spanish name?" To which she patiently replies: "Yeah: my dad's Spanish."

Then it was back to that new album, including Only Love Can Hurt Like This, and among the new tracks was Ready for the Good Life, a fantastic, upbeat don't-let-the-so-and-sos-grind-you-down kind of anthem.

The singer scored her first No.1 single earlier this year on the Sigma track Changing
The singer scored her first No.1 single earlier this year on the Sigma track Changing

We were treated to that Sigma No. 1 track Changing, which got the packed-out crowd dancing as much as was possible in a heavily-crowded room, and for her encore Paloma began with talk of tackling songs by your idols, leading me to believe she was about to deliver her cover of INXS' Never Tear Us Apart.

Not so; as the strains of Tina Turner's River Deep, Mountain High struck up and the star of the night showcased the depth and detail of her vocal talent, it was clear that Paloma was leaving Folkestone on a high note.

For more information on upcoming concerts at the Leas Cliff Hall, visit www.atgtickets.com/venues/leas-cliff-hall or call 0844 8713015.

For more information on Paloma Faith's upcoming shows, including a UK arena tour in 2015, visitwww.palomafaith.com

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