Incorporating The Music Fix
13th February 2012 06:00:00
Posted by Lorne Thomson

Diana Vickers - Cargo London

9 February 2012

X Factor Alumini Diana Vickers first appeared on our screens in 2008, in a season that also brought us Alexandra Burke and JLS. Although coming fourth, Diana impressed enough of the right people to receive a record contract and a leading role in a West End show, receiving critical acclaim for the part of Little Voice in The Rise And Fall Of Little Voice after the series had finished. Diana released her debut single 'Once' in April 2010, followed by album Songs From the Tainted Cherry Tree a month later, with both releases hitting the number one position in the charts. The singer also toured the UK extensively the same year, promoting Cherry Tree’s material and stand alone single 'My Wicked Heart'.

Diana parted ways with her record company in 2011 but continued working on her musical projects at the same time as putting a fashion collection together for Very titled Dee V. At the beginning of the year the singer started to unveil new tracks via her website as potential candidates for her sophomore release and plucked up the courage to offer the songs up live, performing two intimate shows in Manchester and London, with sets comprising of mostly new material.

I viewed a few of Diana's performances when she was originally touring so was looking forward to hearing what she had up her sleeve in 2012, heading down to the venue for to find a large crowd already gathered waiting to get in. Luckily, the lovely Cargo staff let myself and a fellow photographer in early so we could get a place at the front where were surrounded a few minutes later by eager and excitable Vickers fans, who I chatted away to during the ninety minutes before the singer took to the stage. A DJ was spinning a few tunes before Miss V's entrance and he managed to sneak in a few of Diana's new recordings into his set alongside the dance floor classics, with each track bringing waves of excitement from the crowd down the front.

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Diana eventually appeared at the back of nine, starting her set with 'Kiss of a Bullet', one of the songs she'd released as an MP3, resulting in several fans singing along having devoured the track's contents during numerous repeat plays in the comfort of their own home. I was concentrating on taking pictures during the first three songs we were allocated but the lighting states were terrible so it was a very unrewarding experience so I was happy to put my camera down and just get on with enjoying the show when fourth song 'Cinderella' came around.

Although I had been focused on snapping away I was able to notice that Miss V had taken to the stage full of enthusiasm and was really communicating with her audience, probably because many of them were familiar faces from previous gigs so she seemed at home. Whatever the reason she seemed to have grown as a performer in the months that she'd been away from the stage. I've always found Diana very engaging to watch as she's quite an animated performer, with lots of little gestures appearing for each song. That being said, as great as she was I do have to deduct one point for her re-use of the gun gesture she used to use liberally when performing 'The Boy Who Murdered Love' during 'Kiss With A Bullet'!

Diana must have been glad that her Cargo set was going down so well as she'd told us that her show the night before in Manchester had been a complete shocker, with her microphone cutting off straight away and the venue's PA cutting out completely on a couple of occasions. If that wasn't bad enough she then received a 4am phone call, saying her drummer and guitarist had been thrown in the cells after the show and had fears of having to play her London gig completly solo or with her boyfriend One Night Only's George Craig, delivering a John and Yoko type performance! Luckily the pair were released without charge so the Cargo evening went by without a problem.

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I found Diana's new material an improvement on her previous work and was really impressed by the songs on offer. I imagine her second album will have a little bit more of a dance vibe to the first as she seemed to be going down a slightly similar route to Sophie Ellis Bextor with some of her fresh tunes. The whole evening was a succes in my eyes but things picked up for me even more with the last three songs. 'Music To Make Boys Cry' is one of the tracks that had appeared as an MP3 earlier in the year. I'd given it a few plays, enjoying what I'd heard but the song really connected at Cargo with its middle eight "Right now" section giving the track a build, probably making it my joint evening's highlight alongside the song that followed - 'Love Sounds Better In French' - as that track just sounded like a huge dance anthem.

Miss V finished her set with 'Mad At Me', where she was joined onstage by a saxophone player and took to her sparkly new trumpet for the first time of the evening. My favourite track on Cherry Tree is 'My Hip' and for some reason I'm always amused when she pulls out her trumpet to give it a toot during that song, so I was happy to see that album number two wasn't neglecting the trumpet! The song ended with Diana holding her trumpet triumphantly above her head and she had every right to feel proud of her set. Judging by the songs on offer the new album wll be a bit of a doozy. There's no guarantee it's going to be a major hit but I imagine it will be one of the best pop releases of the year.

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