AlunaGeorge combines vocals by Aluna Francis over George Reid’s compositions, polarized sounds that create something original, outfitted in pop.
AlunaGeorge contrasts visually too, with Aluna a sporty Sade on the runway, and George a buttoned-up Oxbridge programmer. The tall 20-somethings have an easy chemistry on-stage, backed by a solid rhythm section (one the NYT didn’t love).
At a crowded show, all eyes follow Aluna dancing with the mic stand. She is long-limbed in white satin shorts swaying to the music. Hips slink, one knee bends to accent the arch of a graceful sneaker. A white bra hovers well above the shorts; her waist is impossibly long. Positioned center stage, the venue is drawn together, focused on one midriff.
George’s beats are infectious and get better throughout the set. Aluna pairs rap gestures and posture with Donna Summer-esque choruses. She sounds not unlike a clubbed-out Lily Allen on the song “Body Music” and reminiscent of 90s R&B heartthrob Aliyah singing over breakbeat on “Driver.” “Attracting Flies” is the crowd favorite, pop candy.
The musicians strike a balance with the programmed tracks. “Lost and Found,” is addictive, stocked with classic arcade game effects and contagious bounce. Live, great bass lines, melodic bell synth and clean drums accompany “Best Be Believing.” A highlight of the set is a Montell Jordan cover, “This Is How We Do It.” The crowd sings along with the chorus after Aluna preps with the lead, “Let me hear the Par-ee say!” A single arm cuff shimmers, goddess-like.
George directs the crowd through his console of machines. Dancing Aluna puts a towel over her neck and becomes a sparring boxer, water bottle in hand. She joins George at the gear station where choir sounds on MPC intersperse with a sample of a baritone demanding the crow “Shut the F Up.” Standing next to one another, AlunaGeorge’s duet of keys and programming pads feels romantic.
Back at the mic, center stage, Aluna is a fashion model with a message. Her movements delight onlookers; her lyrics satisfy a need. George’s beats fuel the dance floor and Aluna leads without taking over. The opposites are synched and the audience pleased. They love the striking fit of glamor and bleeps. Still, it’s hard not to suspect the beauty of humoring the music geek while secretly dating the quarterback.