Little Boots, Bestival 2009

As she leaves the stage behind the wheel of her toy car, you're left wondering if anyone coming up will be able to match what she just did on stage.

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Date: 13 Sep 2009 | By Paul Leake | Rating: 4
Little Boots

As Lady Penelope drives onto the stage in a comically under-sized children's car, followed by her Thunderbird friends, you begin to feel sorry for those in the audience who are swamped in a Hunter S. Thompson haze. For those in a more sober state of mind, it marks the idiosyncratic entrance of Little Boots, the reigning queen of the British electro-pop crop. Creating her own tremors with the energetic electric beats and thunderous bass, she starts her set with 'Earthquake', an album track from her debut 'Hands'. Each line ripples through the audience, raising their spirits under the heat of the afternoon sun; a proudly euphoric pop song with one of the most catchy and infectious choruses you're ever likely to find. Watching Little Boots live, if you're apt to buy into the buzz about the current movement, proves unequivocally why she outmatches her 'competitors'. She has a real affinity with music, creating curiously distinctive sounds with her tenori-on and the instruments around her.

When she starts the first verse of 'Mathematics', her lyrically playful side is shown in all its glory. Victoria Hesketh is completely immersed in the song, an eccentric allusion to Plath's 'Love Is A Parallax'. Though her tongue is placed firmly in her cheek with "cos your X is equal to my Y", the number works on a number of different levels and demonstrates her talent for making layered, cerebral pop music. The set is not without its weak points, however. 'Symmetry' is understandably performed solo here at Bestival, without Philip Oakey's complementary baritone. In doing this song alone, we're given a performance that feels absent of something crucial. What makes 'Symmetry' a storming track is the texture of the two voices together as a cross-generational duet. It is a bridge across time, marrying the synthpop sophistication of the 80s together with the electro movement of the naughties. While she dedicated this one to the spacemen and women in the audience, she could have chosen a more suitable serenade for the travellers.

A familiar, darkly electronic introduction elicits a roar from the audience. This summer's most resilient single release, 'Remedy' has the crowd bouncing and yelling the lyrics back to her. To close her set, she plays 'Stuck On Repeat', which maintains the audience's enthusiasm. The repetitive lyrics have families and friends dancing together in one of the greatest, most vigorous and lively moments of Bestival. As she leaves the stage behind the wheel of her toy car, you're left wondering if anyone coming up will be able to match what she just did on stage. For someone with supposedly little boots, Hesketh is a Titan on the stage.