Caro Emerald @ Usher Hall, Edinburgh, 13 Oct
Delivering a rich mix of soul and jazz, Caro Emerald shines bright as she takes the stage of the Usher Hall
Which record spent the longest time at number one you ask? Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon or ABBA’s Gold maybe? No, it was the debut record from Caro Emerald, Deleted Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor, which racked up 27 weeks at the top of the charts, taking the crown from Michael Jackson’s Thriller, with its catchy mix of brassy soul, jazz and swing. Sure, that was in her native Netherlands, but even in the UK her two records have gone platinum, soundtracking Saturday night television shows and racking up colossal sales figures.
Between Deleted Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor and its follow-up The Shocking Miss Emerald, the singer and her seven-piece backing band are not short of a danceable tune, and tonight they tackle everything from the retro James Bond theme stylings of Tahitian Skies to the infectious Latin-tinged My 2 Cents. Most of these songs find our heroine yearning for the handsome man in the corner to make his move, or heartbroken when he slips out in the morning, but the best moments come when it is Emerald herself imperiously delivering the kiss off, as she does with the pithy putdowns of Excuse My French.
Tonight’s performance shows exactly why the Dutch singer has become a star, as she delivers a rich mix of soul and jazz while seeming as if she barely needs to stretch her velvet voice. Stuck offers a chance for some good time rock'n'roll, while the acoustic and unreleased Close To Me, performed by just Emerald and her guitarist, allows the singer to deliver some pitch-perfect vocals. Even as Emerald remains the star of the show, she allows her backing musicians time to truly shine, shouting them out by name on multiple occasions and handing them the opportunity for a rip-roaring brass throwdown as she nips off for a quick costume change. They seem to be having a lot of fun too, with her guitarist shuffling like Chuck Berry as he lays down scratchy funk licks and jazzy chords.
Tangled Up, with its 'Girls are like yoyo's' spoken word break, and the electro-swing throwback Back It Up lay the kitsch on thick, but sassy single Liquid Lunch, a sultry cover of Camila Cabello’s Havana and her calling card A Night Like This have the audience up on their feet. There may be very little shocking about the family-friendly Caro Emerald, but this is high class entertainment delivered by a singer with 10,000 watts of star power.