CMJ 2008: Róisín Murphy | Mansion | 10.24.2008

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I think my favorite of Roisin Murphy's many costume changes was a plaid jacked that had a life-size deer built into it, which she accessorized with a plaid antler hat. Ms. Murphy had a different outfit for just about every song for her American solo debut at West Side mega-club Mansion. There was also a black feather cape that kind of made her look like a turkey, and a fur coat that resembled angel wings.

I knew that this show had been upgraded from Hiro Ballroom to Mansion but I didn't know how big Mansion was going to be (very big) and how many people were going to be crammed in there (probably 700?). You could not move it was so packed. There were people on the balconies, the stairs, most of them way more dressed up than I was. And most of them were super-fans. Who knew?

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The last time I saw her she was playing Knitting Factory on Moloko's first tour. This was much more of a production. Back-up singers, full band, projections, and those insane outfits. But Murphy has enough personality  – not to mention those pipes — that she could have wowed us wearing a potato sack. She seemed to be loving every minute of it and the crowd recipricated. We got almost a two-hour show, mostly from Murphy's 2007 album, Overpowered (one of my Best of the Year picks), including "You Know Me Better," "Let Me Know" and "Dear Miami." My favorite moment was "Primitive," which got a hard rock ending that really worked, and Roisin can bang her head with the best of them.

I wish we'd gotten some different songs off her first solo album that "Ramalama" and "Ruby Blue" but the album's herky-jerky rhythms might have made a difficult translation to her current dance workout asthetic. (Still, it would've been nice to hear "Sow Into You" and "If We're In Love") And the crowd woulda went bonkers for "Sing it Back" but I don't think anyone left thinking she didn't give it her all.

SETLIST: Cry Baby / You Know Me Better / Checking up / Dear Miami / Primitive / Ruby Blue / Movie Star / Forever More / Let Me Know / Overpowered / ENCORE: Tell Everybody / Ramalama

MP3Roisin Murphy – Overpowered 

MP3Roisin Murphy – So Into You

There are more, out-of-focus pictures (damn smoke machines baffle my Powershot's autofocus) on my Flickr. Buy some of Roisin's music won't you? Overpowered is finally going to get a U.S. release in January and word is she'll be back for an actual American tour in March.

New Roisin Murphy | “Let Me Know”

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I saw Moloko almost exactly ten years ago at Knitting Factory when they toured for Do You Like My Tight Sweater? — I went on a whim and was blown away by their roof-raising abilities. Above all else, I remember singer Roisin Murphy  holding court over the totally-into-it crowd, wearing a big, flap-eared fur hat. She was pure sex and it blew my little mind.

I never liked Moloko quite as much as that night, but her solo career has been more interesting to me. Her 2005 solo debut, featuring blippy jazz courtesy cut-n-paste wiz Matthew Herbert, was pretty genius, and felt like a step forward for Murphy in every way. The follow-up, Overpowered, looks to be a little more normal — straight-up disco — but that is a relative term with Murphy. The title track was my personal 2007 Summer Jam, and I’m still not tired of it. We’re still a month off from Overpowered‘s release (Oct. 15) but Murphy has just released the second single, "Let Me Know," which was co-written by Groove Armada’s Andy Cato. It’s another ridiculously catchy slab of first-class dancefloor fodder. Resistance is futile… if you like this kind of stuff.

MP3: Roisin Murphy – Let Me Know

Please enjoy the video, too, where Murphy turns a late-night diner into a disco paradise, as only she can. As you can see, her love of hats remains…