Review: Neneh Cherry & RocketNumberNine at The Wedgewood Rooms

Picture by Paul Windsor
Picture by Paul Windsor
Meon Valley Orchestra

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It’s been 18 years since Neneh Cherry last released a solo album.

There’ve been collaborations and an album of covers with jazz trio The Thing in 2012, but it’s been a far cry from the peak of her fame in the late ’80s.

This free show is a debut run-through of her new album, Blank Project, recorded with techno duo RocketNumberNine, before a string of ‘proper’ shows.

Cherry emerges on the unlit stage, singing album opener Across the Water, backed by just a percussion track, and it’s an effective opener – forcing the crowd to focus on her voice. It’s very much a statement of intent.

The musical accompaniment from the Page brothers on synths and drums veers from sparse to throbbing electronica.

Cherry seems genuinely bowled over by the positive response to a set of entirely new material.

But it’s hard not to warm to her dancing through instrumental passages, chatting with the crowd and looking like she’s enjoying it.

And when she comes back for the sole encore, it’s an unexpected treat as the band launch into a heavily reworked Buffalo Stance.

If this was just a warm-up, come the summer shows, these three will be unstoppable.