Laing - Lido, Berlin 04/10/12
By Yolanda Leask
Laing is Chinese for hot shit stuck to the sole of your shoe, and the catchy hooks these girls sing are equally hard to shake off. Comprising lead singer, composer and producer Nicola Rost, backing singers Johanna Marschall and Atina Tabiei Razligh in addition to backing dancer and choreographer Marisa Akeny, this quartet is a force to be reckoned with. German music doesn't have the best reputation in the UK, (Tokio Hotel, anyone?) but an act with this kind of panache ought not to be lost in translation.
Commencing a national tour, kicking off in trendy Kreuzberg’s top venue Lido, they’re playing to a home crowd. It could just be Berlin, but by the looks of the diverse audience, Nicola’s girls are well on their way to becoming gay icons. The majority of the audience are young, fun and ready to boogie. And the exception that proves the rule: the 60-year-old man in a wheelchair down the front, who bagsied the best seat in the house.
Eurotrash support act Romano headbanged his luscious locks and doled out red roses to hysterical women in the audience, old enough to know better. Possessing the face of Vladimir Putin yet the swagger of a crotch-thrusting 1970s Travolta, his clear attempt to cling onto what little youth he has left was the perfect opener. His audacious, and somewhat cringey, cruise-ship cabaret persona loosened us up beyond all recognition.
Visually considered, Laing’s stage show is classy. Reminiscent of a monochrome film, they use light and shade to full effect, employing design classic the Anglepoise lamp in an innovative microphone stand set-up. Like an updated, feminine barbershop choir, these ladies have a sweet, soulful sound with a subversive, edgier message. One might even go as far to call this trio of singers the Supremes for the 21st Century. The rhythmic and crucial choreography is invented by dancer, Marisa. Her interludes break up the set with a corporal contrast to the otherwise aural output. The others stand around and watch like a female hip hop crew, however Laing’s drum and bass-led music has more mainstream-crossover potential. Whilst essentially digital, from the manner in which Rost composes, Laing perform something more analogue, wholly physical, and almost tribal- the result is most definitely human. From fans of early nineties house with strong female vocals to small girls who weren’t even born in the nineties and everyone else inbetween, I think Laing have something to offer.
Laing’s EP has been available since 2011, the cover of which displays a telephone number anyone can ring to leave the band a personal karaoke message. But from the sounds of the varied setlist, the overall effect of which is dynamic and stimulating, the forthcoming album should be all killer, no filler. Top hit 'Morgens Immer Müde' (Mornings Always Tired) is fast becoming anthemic.
Although very much a girlband, Laing’s tongue-in-cheek, raised eyebrow attitude gives the songs a different dimension. Their siren-like, beautiful voices are coupled with a fresh sense of humour epitomised by the blue, phallic props the girls swing above their heads during one song about an ex-boyfriend’s flaccidity.
Laing were clearly overwhelmed by the positive reception. Having just celebrated coming 2nd in Germany’s Bundesvision song competition, the atmosphere was certainly heightened. They celebrated by giving out shot glasses to the audience and making a toast to being runners-up. Sassy but ever so gracious, they hung around for ages afterwards appeasing demanding fans, but evidently revelling in their growing success. Ones to watch.