Gig Review: Grace Jones – LOVEBN1FEST, Preston Park, Sunday 4th August.

Grace Jones straddles music, cinema, fashion, and art. She’s done the lot. So what does an icon from the 70s and 80s offer the gig-goer in the 2010s?

Pride weekend nets Brighton an estimated £20 million and an extra 500,000 visitors – all eager for numerous opportunities to hear music old and new. Diminutive pop poppet Kylie was the headliner for Saturday’s Pride In The Park and whilst not the headliner for LOVEBN1FEST, Grace Jones was a draw for many in attendance on the family orientated Sunday.

Wow! The review for her set could be just those three letters.

She came on stage early, she left late, but Grace gave it everything and more for 70 solid minutes. She applied a liberal dose of chat with numerous costume changes between her ten-song set – a greatest hits set of her own originals and covers going back in the main to the late 1970s and 1980s. Her attire looked like she had come from a swingers party as a Venetian style skull mask hid her face whilst her clothing let you know she was fighting fit. She dispensed with Nightclubbing along with the mask in swift succession.

In a cheeky little nod to her diva reputation, she let the crowd know that the “plane was late, I’m still early!” This Is and Private Life were next in the set and we got to see Grace work the stage. She danced, she prowled, she let us know that Preston Park was her playground for the duration of her set. “More Wine” was asked for and as the libation flowed, the devil in Ms Jones came out to play.

Warm Leatherette turned from an electro dystopia that referenced JG Ballard to a James Brown meets Afrofunk workout with Grace on her own cymbal set crashing away whilst initiating a call and response based on the song’s title. My Jamaican Guy was slinky and seductive as ever. Between songs, she described her look as She wearing a He. The crowd roared in appreciation.

Williams Blood and Amazing Grace were more laid back and allowed us all to get our breath back. Onto the final three songs… Love Is the Drug was a sexy aperitif then onto to her two biggest hits. Pull Up To The Bumper got the few people who weren’t dancing up on their feet and Grace felt like seeing us more closely so got a piggyback and went into the crowd.

At the side of the stage, you could see the organisers were gesticulating madly as the set was running over. Two minutes for Slave To The Rhythm? Grace said ok and duly played for another five. Hula Hooping whilst singing your set closer is now the standard for show closing in my opinion.

Even though her set was running over, she still had time for a crafty fag and she smoked it with style. A triumph. Viva la Diva!

Setlist:

  1. Nightclubbing
  2. This Is
  3. Private Life
  4. Warm Leatherette
  5. My Jamaican Guy
  6. Williams’ Blood
  7. Amazing Grace
  8. Love Is the Drug
  9. Pull Up to the Bumper
  10. Slave to the Rhythm

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