Amy Winehouse

The Watefront, Norwich

The Watefront, Norwich

Filtering classic American soul and girl group influences through a 21st century Londoner's sensibility, Amy Winehouse's recent Back to Black has been hailed as one of the albums of the year.

With her black hair piled high like candy-floss and a sympathetic eight-piece band behind her, this precociously talented 23-year-old entranced a capacity crowd on Saturday.

Her bow-tied backing singers apparently doing the front crawl, she confidently roamed the stage microphone in hand, third number Just Friends easing things up a notch with its mellow ska groove.

Meanwhile, the Motown-inspired Tears Dry on Their Own added flute and understated wah-wah guitar to the instrumental mix. Supple and responsive, her band ably recreated the gritty yet sumptuous sound of the new album.

While there has been a recent vogue for the sound and style of the classic girl groups (exemplified by the likes of The Pipettes), in most cases enthusiastic nostalgia has eclipsed any real affinity. Amy Winehouse is the exception. Even as it evokes The Shangri-Las,

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her new album's title track contemptuously banishes any hint of pastiche.

This truly emotive singer, staggeringly accomplished songwriter and fresh and funny performer encored with recent single Rehab.

Is there a finer pop star in Britain? No, no, no.

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