She gave those people 90 seconds of a 90-minute gig. Sing It Back was reduced to an outro of Exploitation, one of the fair-to-middling electronica tracks from her solo career that dominated. And she spent much of that minute-and-a-half with her microphone thrust out, as if teasing us for how much we were enjoying being able to sing along with something.
To be fair, Murphy had some solo material good enough to make one forget Moloko. House Of Glass had claustrophobic synths, a minor-key melody that suited Murphy’s delicate voice, and a theme of artifice that in retrospect made it the perfect opener.
She spent the rest of the show changing costumes and dance moves at every turn. It’s debatable whether that was a comment on shifting personas in the social media age, or a distraction from the relatively limited range of her singing and robotic saminess of the beats from her four-piece band (even on Moloko swansong Forever More, heard here).
Those criticisms didn’t apply to standout, Overpowered. The kind of track for which the term “banger was coined, it’s chiming keyboards carried a groove that allowed Murphy to hammily roll her shoulders, while singing a rare hook on which her sultry voice could really grab hold.
Murphy had a compellingly chameleonic stage presence, most of the crowd seemed with her, and tracks like You Know Me Better, Incapable and Plaything also cut through the relentless clubland soundscape.
But as the last programmed thud faded, it felt like the time had passed to hear Moloko’s superior The Time Is Now.