The comparisons are already coming thick and fast for Rox, from Adele to Amy Winehouse she’s been given big shoes to fill. When tonight’s gig is started by ten minutes of deliberation before Rox finally takes to the stage, it begins to feel like it’s make or break. Her album Memoirs has been out just a week and having witnessed a shaky appearance at Dot To Dot Festival, having been bitten by a cold, it was unclear what was to be expected from the latest retro-soul singer. Her album, whilst solid, seems to lack distinction to set it apart from her counterparts but live it’s a different game altogether.
Opening with the tribal driven No Going Back, within minutes its clear Rox is a singer with attitude. At her most feisty, in the likes of Rocksteady she has a ring of Lauren Hill and she spends the majority of the set strutting around the stage with a sophisticated confidence. Nevertheless, between songs Rox is humbling and modest. It’s this duel edge to her presence which echoes throughout her songs, counterbalancing attitude with emotion. The latter side of her style is perhaps best conveyed by Page Unfolds which is driven by her vocal power and willingness to translate emotion in her voice.
This ability to create and switch between jazzed up, radio friendly numbers like My Baby Left Me and soul driven, often bluesy numbers such as Sad Eyes, no doubt accounts for her eclectic audience and as her set progresses she seems to draw more and more of the audience in with her charm. Her cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams takes her back to her Jamaican routes, filled with a reggae beat and it makes The Corrs rendition seem airy and dull in comparison and later she similarly wipes the floor with Alanis’ cover of Seal’s Crazy, filling her own rendition with passion and gusto. It’s this ability to transform other artist’s songs which originally catapulted her into the spotlight, taking up Winehouse’s vocals on Valerie alongside Mark Ronson at festivals in 2008.
This however is where the comparison ends. Whilst there are shades of other singers, Forever Always Wishing, marks Rox’s ability to create powerful, innovating ballads, whilst I Don’t Believe with its multiple time changes marks her band as outstanding. Culminating strong melodies with soulful lyrics, Rox is able to take hints of other artists and transform them into something new. Juxtaposing multiple influences and songs with variation, the closing Breakfast In Bed more than justifies the wait at the start and leaves the audience hanging onto her every word.