Christine and the Queens: O2 Apollo, Manchester

Christine and the Queens

Christine and the Queens

As the French pop sensation brought her album Chaleur Humaine to the UK for the first time, Getintothis’ Adam Lowerson was left in awe of Christine and the Queens.

She might have been one of the biggest pop stars in France, but this time 12 months ago, Héloïse Letissier was almost completely unknown in the UK. None of her records had been released here, and her tours had been few and far between and only in the smallest of venues. Fast forward a year to tonight’s show at Manchester’s O2 Apollo, and her band Christine and the Queens feel on the brink of something truly special.

Following her debut UK album release, Chaleur Humaine, at the start of the year, Christine and the Queens‘ breakthrough seemed to come from her performance on Graham Norton and at Glastonbury a couple of weeks later. Since then, her rise has been meteoric, with her handful of UK tour dates sold out in minutes.

Tonight feels like a real moment. The icing on the cake of 2016 for Letissier. The Apollo was packed from wall to wall from early on, and the outpouring of love from the crowd to Letissier between every single song was really quite moving. And deservedly so, as tonight Christine and the Queens were absolutely magnificent.

Opening with the slow burning Starshipper, the tone was set for the night with Letissier‘s stunning vocals floating atop the band’s sweeping synths as her and the backing dancers came to life. iT, the brilliant album opener, followed with the French singer declaring “I’m a man now“, ending the song with her muscles flexed and the audience in raptures.

A lucky few saw the Christine and the Queens play the Kazimier Garden in 2013

A highlight was, Paradis Perdus, her French reimagining of Kanye West‘s Heartless, which with its understated synths taking a backseat allowed Letissier‘s vocals to really take centre stage, and showed the purity and delicacy of her voice.

Letissier herself is a real star. Along with her four backing dancers, the way she dances and moves around the stage is comparable to Michael Jackson, yet amazingly it doesn’t seem to hamper her singing at all. Her voice from start to finish is completely flawless.

Her performance is absolutely mesmerising, but she is just as engaging between songs too. Before playing her hit single Tilted she invites the audience to “be whoever you want tonight. You can change your name for tonight, you can even change your gender“, touching on the messages of gender, identity and empowerment that make Chaleur Humaine such an important record. Letissier is the unconventional and unique star that the UK’s increasingly conservative pop scene has been crying out for, and this is reflected with as diverse an audience as you’re likely to see at any show.

She’s put out one of the records of the year with Chaleur Humaine, and now put on one of the best performances of the year. 2016 is well and truly the year of Christine and the Queens.