The Gossip



UEA LCR, Norwich

In the last year Beth Ditto has gone from being the singer in an underground indie band into a cultural icon.

In a time when many pop stars have an eagle-eyed PR person perched on their shoulder, making sure that they do not say anything controversial, Ditto makes her views on everything - politics, sexuality, religion, sizeism - you name it.

She's topped the NME's cool list - an impressive feat in the male-dominated indie music world, she is a broadsheet agony aunt and Kate Moss wants to be friends with her.

But she's not all talk - on stage fronting The Gossip at UEA last night, fresh from a Glastonbury headline appearance, her talent shone.

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Her voice has been described as being like Tina Turner and gargling ball bearings - which is pretty near the mark.

It's immense and could fill a venue three times the size of UEA.

And those cooler-than-thou indie bands could learn a thing or two about how to work a crowd from her performance.

Fusing punk, blues, disco, and soul, the set was exhilarating, Ditto's voice backed by crashing cymbals, primal beats and a bass guitar.

The highlight of the set, inevitably, was the band's breakthrough single Standing in the Way of Control.

The crowd erupted and Ditto flouted the venue's no stage diving rule and joined the crowd on the dance floor - never missing a note.

In just two weeks after George Michael performed Careless Whisper at Carrow Road, The Gossip gave it a makeover as their encore - but sadly without the cheesy saxophone.

The critics have got it right - Ditto and The Gossip are really worth talking about.

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