Beth Ditto is clearly in a chatty mood tonight, telling her London audience of friends all about her life to the point that her Gossip bandmates regularly have to cut her off with music, as if she has overrun an Oscar winning speech.
Laughing at the fact the bands guestlist was half of the entire XOYO capacity, Ditto spots old friends in the crowd throughout the show in the city she calls her 'home away from home'. Here in earnest to launch new album 'A Joyful Noise', it soon becomes apparent that tonight is all about having a good time.
That's not to say the new album is ignored, with new tracks 'Move In The Right Direction' and 'Melody Emergency' impressing early on. Elsewhere we are treated to recent single 'Perfect World' and the glam-house floor-filler 'Get Lost'. The new material goes down well but struggles to impress any real identity on an audience who clearly favour the 2006 album 'Standing In The Way Of Control'.
Aside from the obvious track (more on that later), it is 'Yr Mangled Heart' and 'Listen Up' that stand out tonight. Both pack a genuine punch with the huge soul influence that never distracts from the wild punk edge both songs are laced with. It is a shame that the band have rounded off these edges in recent years, as displayed by the lacklustre material from 2010's 'Music For Men' album played tonight.
It seems harsh to call Gossip a one-hit wonder and to many who have followed the band for over ten years they are anything but, although it is also hard to believe they will ever top 'Standing In The Way Of Control' either. Joking that "it is the only song people actually know" Beth and co. clearly know this too and it's not hard to see why as the disco-diva stomp that is *that* song clatters and flashes for three brilliant minutes, overshadowing nearly everything else played this evening.
Reminding your fans of former glories at the launch of a new release should be bad form but somehow Gossip just about pull it off.