We’re sure you’re all aware by now that PressPLAY love some ‘bare japes’, but we’ve gone all serious for a tick as we wonder how on earth to even begin reviewing Mutya Keisha Siobhan’s first proper headline gig. Then we remember that Heidi Range is doing Celebrity MasterChef and Jade Ewen has read a eulogy for Sugababes 4.0 while the body’s still warm, so whatever MKS have to offer can’t be that bad. Still, the teenage pop-slut inside us wanted to fan-girl over one of the most exciting reunions of the decade; the more measured side preferred to sit back and assess whether the trio’s new tunes can make an impact beyond, judging by tonight’s audience, most of London’s gay male population.
But not so long after the trio strutted onto the stage, it became clear we could do both. Impeccable renditions of classics like Overload and Run For Cover (from atop bar stools, no less) were followed by new tracks such as I’m Alright, all sounding so damn box-fresh in the hands of this lot that you could barely tell there’d been a decade between releases.
The rest of the new material is equally thrilling – Boys in particular has chart-smash written all over it – and gives an interesting insight into where MKS seem to be right now, other than providing layer upon layer of tight, buttered harmonies. In bare basic terms, it’s a comeback not too dissimilar to Take That: just as the boys came out of their wilderness as a mature man-band, so too do these erstwhile Sugababes emerge as women more in the vein of En Vogue than Stooshe.
And if the ladies themselves ever had any doubts about the reunion, their reception tonight as both as a group and individuals should be enough to put those to rest; it’s certainly one of the most heartwarming we’ve ever seen (we’re pretty sure even Siobhan herself couldn’t hear her solo on Stronger on account of the raucous cheering) and as overwhelming an indication of support as anything.
The girls recently said in an interview that their comeback wasn’t one out of desperation, a statement that becomes impossible to deny by the time the knockout encore begins. If you want a quick route back to fame, you take part in ITV’s Big Reunion. You don’t work with people like Dev Hynes to mash-up Lay Down in Swimming Pools, which ends up being a bigger crowd-pleasing fist-pumper than the lovely gentleman next to us who had that as his Grindr handle.
And by the time Mutya (drank) Keisha (drank) Siobhan (drank) wrap their set with a cheeky mash-up of Flatline / Push The Button, it’s the impassioned fan’s statement down Keisha’s microphone that seems to be the most pertinent description of the night: “Don’t fuck with the originals.”
We’ll drank to that.
(POSTSCRIPT: Support act Little Nikki is an absolute firecracker and future star. Yo-Yo is a number one hit waiting to happen, you heard it here first.)