Paloma Faith returns to Chicago for Park West show

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Paloma Faith When: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 1 Where: Park West, 322 W. Armitage Tickets: $17.50 Info: (773) 929-5959 etix.com [/one_third] Paloma Faith finds herself at the same intersection of fame and fortune as many English acts before her. Oasis, Amy Winehouse and Adele each played shows at smaller Chicago venues, just off massive tours and appearances in their hometowns across the pond. The witty Brit (watch her appearance on British late-night show Graham Norton) mixes her elegant style and stage presence to create a very now, very nouveau-soul sound. And it’s making waves both in Blighty and farther afield. Her third album, A Perfect Contradiction, dropped in the U.S. in August. The first single, Can’t Rely on You, produced by Pharrell Williams, became Faith’s second top10in the United Kingdom, the second Only Love Can Hurt Like This landed on the U.K. top 10, but shot to number one in Australia. So what does it take to crack the elusive U.S. music scene? Who knows, it’s a quite difficult one to master and everyone in the industry will sit down and tell you how to do it, Faith said last month in a telephone interview. I can’t see a pattern other than it’s hard work and wishful thinking. Faith returns Wednesday to play Park West, a bit bigger house than her first Chicago show at Martyrs in 2012. Her second U.S. tour starts as she hit a career milestone last month —performing at London’s Royal Albert Hall as part of The BBC Proms an eight-week orchestral concert series, with Guy Barker and his orchestra. She fronted an impressive 40-person orchestra as well as a 30-strong chorus. It was probably the best day of my life, and damn, probably my best achievement, absolutely the most joy to my career to date, she said. It’s moving to hear that many voices together, and it tapped into emotions that no instruments can. There’s something moving about the fact we’re connected together, in such harmony. You wish the world was doing that a bit more. The singer, who mixes soul and R&B to a decidedly nouveau-retro sound, credits Etta James, Anita Baker, Chaka Khan and Tina Turner as well as Bel Biv Devoe and D’Angelo, as influences on her the album. Add those sounds to deft musical touches of Pharrell and she has hits up her sleeve. She collaborated with some croon-as-well-as-swoon-worthy hitmakers on this record as well, including John Legend, Pharrell and Raphael Saadiq. Creating music with that trifecta, Faith did admit that at times it was difficult to concentrate on the task at hand. Raphael is just the epitome of good looking to me, his style is beyond. I prioritize style over anything, and he’s got the best style out there, Faith said. Pharrell comes a close second. But don’t think she’s not a fashion icon in her own right, and she absolutely isn’t fazed by Pharrell’s 2014 style moment. I’ve got that hat as well, she said. Faith knows spectacle helps sell the music — she’s had elephants appear onstage at previous gigs. But she knows that isn’t really the Chicago way. On her last trip here, Faith and her band took in a blues show — stayed out far too late —but wanted to experience the scene. And she was blown away by the talent in the clubs. I can’t remember where, but we were having a brilliant night, she said. What struck me is that it’s very different — the quantity of talent that there is there on the street level. Really, this local dude is playing a show, and when you ask him what he does for a living and he says ‘I just work at the post office.’ Regram from Juan sheet tonight at Washington DC which was wonderful with @liambailey.music who SMASHES IT EVERY NIGHT While the stage may lack pachyderms Wednesday, Faith did invite fans to dance onstage with her at the Martyrs gig two years ago. It’s certainly part of her charm —and perhaps that’s part of the formula to make it big with the Yanks. I’m just giving it back, she said. The Beatles did it, the Rolling Stones too. It’s what we Brits do best.

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