Ladyhawke @ Thekla | Friday 10 June

Without getting too decedent and dwelling on own personal experience, I feel it reasonable to state that me and Ladyhawke AKA Pip Brown once walked the same streets – both once living in Wellington, New Zealand in the early-mid 00’s. I remember the first time I saw her was around 2003… I was 16 and had heard of her talents. One evening in a trendy but fairly run down bar formally titled ‘Indigo’ on Cuba Street there she was, performing with her then band Two Lane Blacktop.

She was the most influential musician in the scene at the time and I remember thinking I wanted to be her, she was everything that mattered and more. You couldn’t see her face as it was masqueraded with a mane of thick blonde hair; she seemed shy and careful not to make eye contact, but there she was, shredding her Fender guitar and tapping her foot looking like the ruler of the universe. Later that night she was DJing, playing ‘Rhiannon’ by Fleetwood Mac and I, drunkenly stating my mutual love for the band after five bourbon and cokes.

Tonight, 13-years later since our own personal introduction, I’m keen to make a better impression. Much anticipation is felt in the room as the New Zealander presents herself on-stage after a four-year gap from touring the UK. Now residing in sunny LA, she’s known for her power-pop ballads, cool image and laid back persona, but it’s been said  – even by Pip herself who has been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome – that she had struggled in the past with the high pressures that came with her successes. Performing live had once been daunting.

Tonight however, paints a very different picture. Smouldered in pink and blue light and still sporting the blonde eccentric Stevie Nick’s hairdo, the difference is only seen in her eyes and composure; she exudes a self-assurance and confidence that previously, just didn’t show.

We were off to a rough start with technical problems arising on the first number taken from her newly released and third full length album ‘Wild Things,’ but instead of expressing any panic or despair, she handles things like a master, waving it off and politely apologising. “As if I wasn’t nervous enough,” she says. We’re soon back on track as she introduces old favourites ‘Another Runaway’ and ‘Manipulating Woman’ full of magic 1980’s esc synth waves and a feel good nostalgia, stabby guitars and smooth catchy repetitive vocals.

After announcing sheepishly that this is the first time the newer material had ever been showcased, she jumps into ‘Let It Roll’ with noted influences from the likes of Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers. It’s catchy fast paced chorus is infectious, bouncing and full of dance like grooves; “I’m on the flipside of every dollar bill” she preaches, “Too many hard times, too much to think about, so let it roll like a newborn soul.”

‘Dangerous’ is another stand out, with a very commercial pop feel – quite honestly I’m surprised Britney Spears didn’t try nab it. Pip comes across very comfortable in her surroundings and the hooks just keep coming. She makes it look effortless too, as if she were simply pouring the milk on her morning cornflakes. Rounding up the set we are treated with the mammoth ‘My Delirium’ and ‘Back Of The Van’ which the audience goes wild for.

In comparison to her older material, I would say the new LP and her performance tonight reflects a more positive Pip. Looking back on her second release appropriately titled ‘Anxiety,’ she admits it was the result of an unhealthy mindset in her battles with a low mood. ‘Wild Things’ keeps things light, fun and fresh but approaches with no fear or hesitation. No longer in the shadows, Ladyhawke seems finally ready to take the bull by the horns.

Check out ‘A Love Song’ right here: