Fashion designers, indie scenesters and young kids at costume parties are all accustomed with the art of dressing up – but none of them hold a torch to Ebony Bones.
Stepping out on stage, Ms Bones – described by some as the Karen O of London, looks as though she has walked into an Aladdin’s Cave of fancy dress and it has thrown up on her.
If Bones herself isn’t adorned enough like a Christmas tree, then there’s her accompanying go-go dancer-esque singers with their rubble of chunky necklaces, puffball skirts and neon tights as though paying homage to the glitz and show of Las Vegas casino.
From the start the set is clearly emphasised on the visuals – the brash, the bright, the quirky – as cemented by her drummer in a rabbit suit. Plus there’s the sense of drama, which is probably helped by Bones’ past as the emotionally turbulent Yasmin Matthews in the now-defunct Channel 5 soap Family Affairs (a ha! You knew you’d seen her somewhere didn’t you?).
And this is clearly where the weight lies. Bones does have some tunes, such as the new single bass heavy, tribal Don’t Fart on My Heart and frantic I’m Ur Future Ex-Wife.
But despite all the hype and celeb fanbase (cue Timbaland, Jarvis Cocker etc) this is still artist in the throes of development.
The Rio Carnival-like spectacle however helps buoy her through and in the shambolic bursts of melodies that are seen, moments of great 80s-style pop emerge. There is hyper sense of flamboyance reminiscent of Grace Jones and an abrasive, stripped down DIY feel that recalls X-Ray Spex. And of course in keeping with her title as the ‘crazy Lil Kim figure of Hoxton’, it is only natural for there to be some kitschier moments, which see the tunes to 80s soft-drinks adverts for Kia-Ora and Um Bongo squeal out.
Musically, Bones is far from perfect but she wins is by creating a sense of fun. Her set is one fitting for the ‘iPod generation’ – consistently on the go and catered for those with short attention spans.
Currently, this hob-nob approach provides little for musical beasts to feed on, but in terms of a party, Bones is an animal and we can only hope she will refine her skills to emerge as a bona-fide star.