Outside, the night was horrid and pouring sheet after sheet of chilled rain. Inside, Popscene at 330 Ritch’s stage was blazing with bold UK women and their undeniable vocal prowess. The evening started with Brit babe VV Brown, a young singer/songwriter -- on tour to promote her recent Travelling Like the Light (Universal, 2009) -- who qualifies as the indie version of the Adele and Duffy types.
The set started shy, with VV Brown (born Vanessa Brown) hiding behind a glamorous Mardi Gras mask of shimmering silver, adorned with a fan of black feathers and peacock accents. Song one, “Game Over,” was spent with her vocals streaming into a small megaphone pointed towards the mic. The sound quality was a displaced and muddled, similar to an old record player. Her tiny frame was decorated in a shiny gold swimsuit top and red-plaid tapered pants, cinched tight at the waist.
When the mask came off, Brown’s face was painted with a red blindfold, her trademark bouffant standing tall and proud. She was full of energy, hopping around stage, singing with full facial expressions, banging on the drums and pounding the bongos.
Brown happily announced that the show was her first gig in San Francisco and only her 2nd show in the U.S. “And I wrote this song while sitting on the toilet,” she said as a preface to “Back in Time.” “It’s about Einstein, love, and betrayal.” Hitting the gong with four solid swings, her voice chimed in with an eerie echo and not three seconds later, cut short when her mic cord fell onto the floor.
“Isn’t that what we all love about live music? We just keep going,” she smiled with a confident grin. She played through a majority of the songs on her freshman album, “Traveling Like the Light”, including her most recognizable tracks, “Crying Blood” and “Shark in the Water.”
Brown’s cover of “The Best I Ever Had” by Drake was quite impressive -- the girl can rap! Totally sexy and 100 percent more badass than one would assume, Brown sang the lyrics “You’re the fuckin’ best” with her fist pumping and voice creamy smooth.
Afro-punk-electro-pop songstress Ebony Bones didn’t hit the stage until midnight, but took it over by storm with a full band decked out in color, makeup, wigs and beads. I managed to drool over the awesomeness of the first song and snap a few photos, but I regretfully had to pull myself away in order to catch my train. There’s no way it wasn’t amazing.