Spring should be in the air, but while the sun’s rays have long since found solace behind the clouds and the only thing that has sprung is a leak from the heavens above, one venue in old London town is as full of vibrant energy and life as you would expect from the season.
Patrons of The Old Blue Last, a diverse and assorted bunch of the chic, the city and the somewhere in-between are oft treated to some of the hottest new sounds and coolest cats on the intimate stage upstairs. Tonight is to be no exception as the Madonna of the Midlands, Ronika is here to launch her latest, the Automatic EP.
The venue is sparsely populated as showtime creeps towards us, Ronika herself mills about in the thin crowd, catching up with friends and fans alike. A throat infection gives her voice a slight rasp but her enthusiasm is not dampened. The lights dim, she steps atop the stage and out of the blue the venue is packed and throbbing. The first notes of “Wiyoo” ring out, fears for her voice are quickly forgotten and suddenly there is a dancefloor at the front.
The groove is on as she slips swiftly from one infectious 80’s funk-pop track to another. The only concession to her malady is a lack of chat, nothing is taken from the performance as still the room fills and the dancers swell across the floor. Shapes are cut, the varied attendees united in the moment as the beat takes hold. Barely a breath can be taken as she canters through her set, the crowd whoops and hollers for more as the focus of the night, “Automatic”, reaches its blessed out funktacular climax. Leave them wanting more they say, two tracks later and she’s done, the crowd still hungry shows its rapturous appreciation.
The molten atmosphere of the room cools a touch as the night draws to its close, outside even the rain has stopped for the performance and the evening air has warmed. Ronika’s incendiary set seemingly heating even the weather itself, at last it feels as if spring is here and the world feels a little brighter for it.
Photos by Adam S