Gig review: Paloma Faith and Gabrielle at Millennium Square, Leeds

Paloma Faith performing in Millenium Square, Leeds. Picture: Neil Chapman/Unholy Racket Music PicsPaloma Faith performing in Millenium Square, Leeds. Picture: Neil Chapman/Unholy Racket Music Pics
Paloma Faith performing in Millenium Square, Leeds. Picture: Neil Chapman/Unholy Racket Music Pics
Paloma Faith brings The Glorification of Sadness tour to Sounds of the City in Millenium Square. The new album is an emotional journey which Faith navigates perfectly, mixing in some classics to deliver a bittersweet blockbuster of a show.

The torrential rain that sporadically beat its drum on Leeds most of Sunday did not bode well for Sounds of the City 2024. The prospect of Gabrielle and Paloma Faith on the same line-up promised to bring sunshine, sing-along, good times to Millenium Square.

Even the looming clouds retreated to reveal blue-skies and fluffy white clouds. This event had a great feel to it. It is all too easy to ruin the feelgood vibe with poor organisation. This is a million miles away from that, with event staff making things run smoothly and doing so with a smile.

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Gabrielle has enough sunshine songs in her back catalogue to chase away any clouds. Not all make an appearance in this set but with Don’t Need the Sunshine and Sunshine in the armoury any cloud could do little but beat a retreat. Gabrielle, resplendent in all-black garnished black flowers and fabulous bright red boots, looks and sounds amazing.

Paloma Faith performing in Millenium Square, Leeds. Picture: Neil Chapman/Unholy Racket Music PicsPaloma Faith performing in Millenium Square, Leeds. Picture: Neil Chapman/Unholy Racket Music Pics
Paloma Faith performing in Millenium Square, Leeds. Picture: Neil Chapman/Unholy Racket Music Pics

Long highlighted hair falls across one side of her face balancing a close-cropped undercut on the other. The set is well received with plenty of moments to join in with the singing and arm-waving. Unsurprisingly, Dreams is the headline song which brought the set to an end. The crowd happily soaked up the last glimmers of sunshine and the atmosphere with one of the great pop and R&B classics of the 90s.

Even the looming clouds retreated to reveal blue-skies and fluffy white clouds. release in early 2024. Many of the shows have featured two sets with the first focused on the new material and the second a run through the greatest hits. Sounds of the City gets an abbreviated version with the set focused on the new album with older tunes intermingled.

Faith takes to the stage with a backdrop reading Nothing More Human Than Failure. Resplendent in a metallic gold dress with long train, she launches into a string of new songs. The new album reflects her experience of leaving a long-term relationship. Songs such as How to Leave a Man and Eat S*** and Die explore the raw emotions felt during this period.

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As ever at Faith’s concerts, the songs are interspersed with monologues. These cover topics of imbalance in relationships, empowerment, motherhood, and the raw emotions of a break-up. Faith balances the deeply personal topics with her natural wit and charm. Her stories are relatable, which is a superpower Faith uses to great effect. The crowd listen attentively and laugh along in all the right places.

Gabrielle performing in Millennium Square, Leeds. Picture: Neil Chapman/Unholy Racket Music PicsGabrielle performing in Millennium Square, Leeds. Picture: Neil Chapman/Unholy Racket Music Pics
Gabrielle performing in Millennium Square, Leeds. Picture: Neil Chapman/Unholy Racket Music Pics

The new songs showcase her emotional and vocal range, blending soulful anthems with lighter more humorous tracks. Older tracks weave their way in as the set progresses. Picking Up the Pieces, Cry Baby, and Gold are sandwiched within the new material. There is a great pace to the set and this format worked well. Faith kicks off her shoes so she can dance properly, throws herself into the more rave-inspired Cry on the Dancefloor, with Rely on You bringing the main set to a close.

The encore is reserved for her classic covers of Lullaby and Changing. The crowd sing along throughout, before the set-closing Only Love Can Hurt Like This. Faith calls for the safety-conscious lighting of mobile phone torches much to the relief of the nearby staff in Leeds General Infirmary. The song could be heard being hummed and whistled by the crowd as they spilled through the exit gates onto the streets of Leeds.

Faith, as ever, leaves a lasting impression both musically and emotionally. It would be a hard-hearted soul who didn’t love her just a little bit more after seeing her performance.

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