Har Mar Superstar’s latest album Bye Bye 17 seemed to be an appeal to be taken more seriously – out went (most of) the oversexualised lyrics and Britney-esque pop hooks, and in came the heavy influence of 60s soul and Motown records.
But he found time in this energetic but all-too-short gig to include the poppy old favourites, most of which went down well (especially ‘Power Lunch’, with Beth Ditto’s vocal part filled masterfully by support act Lizzo).
The new album’s lead single Lady, You Shot Me is named after Sam Cooke’s final words, and although he’s not in the same league as the great soul singers of the era, Har Mar’s vocals were surprisingly strong, especially on the tracks from Bye Bye 17.
Bizarrely, although his voice came across poorly while wandering around the audience during the otherwise forgettable cover of Gilbert O’Sullivan’s ‘Alone Again (Naturally)’, it was near its best when he was stood on his head for half of the brilliant ‘We Don’t Sleep’.
Unfortunately, after that surreal gymnastics display, the band left the stage abruptly, and even with five albums to his name and a four-song encore on the night, the gig still lasted under an hour.
Given that Bye Bye 17 clocks in at somewhere around half an hour, one thing is clear: despite his image as an unlikely Lothario, and his tendency to use sexual innuendo in his songs, Har Mar Superstar doesn’t seem to last very long...