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Review: Roisin Murphy Does New York


One of the first things Roisin Murphy told me when I met her in London last year is that she is likes to make music for only one reason - to perform it. She loves making records, she loves making videos, but her true passion is to be on stage and let the music come to live.

Murphy finally made her U.S. debut on Saturday at Manhattan's chic Mansion nightclub (formerly Crobar). The show was put on by The Saint at Large, a well-known New York promoter collective. With no new record out in the States, Murphy had been hesitant to play in the U.S., not sure if people would be interested to see her.

But they were. Hundreds lined up early in the evening to make it to the sold-out show on time. Many of them waited for over an hour to get to see the singer. It was an eclectic crowd of gays, drag queens and hot freaks, mixed up with lots of pressies and music honchos.

Murphy took the stage at 9:40 p.m. (video) for a 2 hour action-packed show. From a stomping rendition of "Cry Baby" to a glamorous "Movie Star," and from the extended "Let Me Know" (video) to the encore "Ramalama" (full set list after the jump),  Murphy delivered a solid performance from start to finish. She was supported by two backing vocalists, keyboard player, bass player, guitarist and drummer.

Murphy is a performer much like her music: sleek, stylish and at at times rambunctious. She can tiptoe across the stage as a deer in the wild at one moment and then transform into a headbanging rock chick the other.


Major part of Murphy's show are her clever costume changes. By mixing and matching different (haut-couture) pieces, she transformed to a different persona for each of her songs. One of the stand out moments was her performance of "Overpowered" (video). Murphy wore a jacket with a deer attached to it on the back that hung around her like dead weight, which perfectly captured the meaning of the song in an unexpected way (and invoked memories of Bjork's infamous dead swan dress.)

Each song also had a unique background projection that added to the mood of the performance. From wavy palm trees for "Dear Miami" to a kaleidoscopic forest for "Primitive."

Murphy shows are not for the squeamish. Just like her unique brand of electro-pop, Murphy challenges her audience. Her fashion, her moves, her play with the band members serves a well thought out aesthetic she wants to present. Often during the show I had the feeling I was at an art show not a pop concert. She doesn't just stand there and delivers a song. Roisin delivers an experience to tickle your eye and ear.

Roisin Murphy went beyond people's wildest expectations for her first U.S. show and delivered a solid performance that will have people talking for a while. More importantly, with some many music execs and press people in the room, she has left a lasting impression that has opened the door for more American attention.

Roisin told me after the show that the show went well. She was happy to finally play in the U.S. The singer also told me about her upcoming European tour and her plans to return to the U.S. in March for an extended tour that includes Los Angeles, Atlanta, San Francisco and Austin for the South by Southwest Festival.

Set list:

Cry Baby
You Know Me Better
Checking up
Dear Miami
Ruby Blue
Movie Star
Forever More
Let Me Know
Tell Everybody (ENCORE)

(A big, big thank you to Fallon and Brad for always taking good care of me and a special shout out to my new pal Lapo who is part of the brilliant team who produced Roisin's show and has a lot more on his sleeves.)


October 26, 2008 in Róisín Murphy | Permalink


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Posted by: video gamer at Oct 26, 2008 10:39:41 AM

What I especially love about her show are her backing singers

Posted by: michael Parsons at Oct 26, 2008 11:00:26 AM

Roisin's show was AMAZING. A total life changing experience. LET ME OUT OF MY CAGE, ROISIN!!!

Posted by: Mike from VA at Oct 27, 2008 6:34:10 AM

ROISIN, please come to Canada. No, this is not a request. It is a demand! hahaha :')

Posted by: will-w at Oct 27, 2008 11:20:17 AM

Seattle!!! Please!!!

Posted by: blah at Oct 27, 2008 2:06:09 PM

I was in France last May so I caught Roisin's amazing Luxembourg show. I live in the US (Chicago), but wasn't able to make the NY show!!! DAMN! Sounds like it was a transformative show. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE come to Chicago in '09!

Posted by: soobat at Oct 28, 2008 8:27:50 PM

OMFG! Arjan, you just made my life! I will hold fast to the hope that she will really be here in Atlanta next year. I ADORE her. Brilliant brilliant brilliant!

Posted by: Bradley at Oct 29, 2008 1:49:56 PM

Atlanta? Roisin? *does happy dance*

Posted by: Timothy at Nov 3, 2008 10:43:15 PM

i came across your article while searching for the deer-outfit, very nice, that somebody took a video of it :)

but as far as i can see, her setlist in NY was quite short and she only did her solo pieces. went to the berlin concert yesterday and she put on hell of a show with golden moloko oldies…

Posted by: Luc at Nov 14, 2008 1:43:57 AM

what an amazing, amazing show! i cant believe its already been a month ago. march will be here before we know it & i cant wait! i think im suffering from some serious roisin withdrawls.

i would also like to say a huge thank you to brad & lapo for all their help & kindness that night...i was previously uninformed of the strict 21 & under age limit & after travelling so far & waiting excitedly at the front of the line nearly all night was quickly denied access into the show by a bouncer because i was after all only nineteen; brad, lapo & the whole of the roisin team joined together & snuck me in. with lapo acting as my personal escourt :]

talk about an insanely nice management crew! i could not have asked for anything more. big thank yous to them for making that night even more memorable & special.


Posted by: Abby at Nov 24, 2008 12:01:56 AM

ps, have just had a look through your fab videos of that night & i must have been standing right next to you!

front row, off right, directly in front of the back up singers.

i was wearing a black dress with huge black & white striped puff sleeves.


Posted by: Abby at Nov 24, 2008 9:02:47 PM

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