Sony’s campaign for Diana Vickers’ solid debut album, “Songs From The Tainted Cherry Tree”, was a bit of a curious affair. At the outset, things went well, with both the record and its taste-maker , “Once”, hitting number 1. The promotional push, however, quickly slowed down and the second single (the underrated “The Boy Who Murdered Love”) stalled outside the top 30.
So, instead of trying to turn things round with a further single release from the album (and, to be honest, there was actually quite a lot to choose from), the label surprisingly decided to re-launch Vickers with a brand new song, an all-over-the-place cacophony called “My Wicked Heart". Despite a live X-Factor appearance, the new track failed to re-ignite interest in the project and Vickers and Sony promptly parted ways.
It is understandable, therefore, why Vickers' new mini-tour, which last night arrived at Cargo in Shoreditch, sees her looking forward rather than back. In fact, the only song from the “Cherry Tree” era to get a an airing was “Once”. The rest of the show consisted of all-new material from her forthcoming second album, which – for the time being – remains untitled and without a set release date (although speculation points towards April/May).
You have to hand it to Blackburn's finest - she certainly has guts. To sustain an audience's attention for the duration of ten songs, of which only one has had any radio play (and, therefore, familiarity), requires confidence in your new material. And it was clear that not only is Vickers proud of her latest compositions, but she also has a thirst for showing them off to her fans. A test-drive, if you like. And a successful one, at that.
To give credit where credit is due, Vickerites were recently treated to a free download of two new songs played at the show (set opener, "Kiss Of A Bullet", and the more-than-averagely-brilliant "Music To Make Boys Cry"), so, at least for some, the otherwise new set wasn't all uncharted territory.
As a performer, Vickers is assured and charismatic and her live vocal performance last night was fairly faultless. During chit-chat time, we also learnt that two of her band-mates managed to get themselves arrested in Manchester after the previous night's show. Vickers, quite hilariously, regaled the audience with the whys and wherefores of the near-cancellation of the show, managing to inject humour and fun into an already winning evening.
Of the new material showcased, the ones that stuck with us most were "Love Sounds Better In French", "Lightning Strikes" and "Boy In Paris". If one of these is not the next single, we'll eat our respective berets. In ok to miss for the bar and/or loo corner were new songs "Dead Heat" and "Smoke", which were just ok but nothing to prevent you from, er... diverting your attention from the stage in order to go to the bar and/or the loo.
All in all, it's a bravo and a thumb held firmly up for an excellent show.