Little Boots + Dragonette and Class Actress @ the El Rey (3/10), Also Tonight in Pomona

Little Boots, with openers Class Actress and Dragonette, will be appearing tonight at the Glass House in Pomona.

Last Wednesday, the diminutive dance diva from Lancashire, UK headlined the same bill at the El Rey, where she attracted a fairly typical West Hollywood crowd of young professionals and well-groomed gays. Little Boots is presenting in America her album Hands, a hit in the UK last Summer and, though she seems slightly bored by her old repertoire by now (she's working on new material in LA), she gave the audience her all.

Little Boots at the El Rey
Little Boots at the El Rey
Gustavo Turner

The three acts on the bill shared similar stage setups: strong, vocal women backed by much less prominent synth technicians and percussionists. Class Actress, Dragonette, and Little Boots are really Elizabeth Harper, Martina Sorbara and Victoria Hesketh, plus assorted beatmakers. (As we've noticed before, the Yaz model of the 1980s reigns now supreme, except the silent partners rarely reach the inventive quality of a Vince Clarke).

We'd love to tell you more about Class Actress because their/her recordings are dreamy and rather interesting within this genre, but we missed most of their act. Note to the punters: if you go to Pomona tonight and the ad says "Doors 8 pm," get there no later than 8:01. Class Actress' slot is from 8:30 - 9:00 and they are unusually punctual for a dance show.

Dragonette's Martina Sorbara is a Paris-styled, impossibly slender chanteuse with a French Vogue hairdo, who's backed by a solid drummer, and presents a live show that is not much to look at. Dragonette's sound is not unlike The Gossip's, but much more tamed and predictable--think a boarding-school version of Beth Ditto in the body of a Fashion Week runway creature and you'll get the general idea. The WeHo crowd danced a little, but mostly focused on the sophisticated appeal of the glamorous frontwoman.

Dragonette
Dragonette
Gustavo Turner

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There was a loooooooong wait between Dragonette and Little Boots (especially annoying since Class Actress played so little, so early), so we were expecting the stage to be prepared for a big production. And Little Boots does play with big-production toys like lasers, weird instruments, and the odd silver cape. Though the lasers were neat (and a little surreal given the Abercrombie & Fitchness of the crowd), the showbiz ambitions at play were out of synch with the pocket-size diva and her natural stage presence.

Through the shopworn material from Hands, Little Boots soldiered on, belting her slight lyrics about romantic teen angst ("Avril Levigne does Cool Wave," is how a cynical friend described Hesketh's puppy love musings) like a much-older trouper. Whether strapping on a keytar with the aplomb of a Dam Funk, playing at Peaches dressup, or tackling the mighty Kate Bush as an encore, Little Boots gave her cleancut audience the small clubby thrills they came looking for.

It should be interesting to see how the bill plays out in the strangely rec-room-like Glass House in Pomona--actually, come to think of it, the weirdness of the setting might add to the show.

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