Lisa-Marie Presley's performance at Bush Hall offered sweet and soulful blues-pop that owed nothing to her father Elvis, writes Thomas H Green.
In the way of background research, I questioned two men in the Bush Hall gentlemen's loos. "Are you here because of Lisa-Marie Presley herself, or because she's Elvis's daughter?"
"She's good as well," replied the first.
"Yeah, I came to see Elvis's daughter, but she's really good," said the second.
If anybody else had made Lisa-Marie's recent Storm And Grace album, a relaxed, tuneful set of rootsy, swampy blues-pop produced by T Bone Burnett, it would have been an album of the year contender rather than overshadowed by what her dad got up to 50 years ago.
She must be used to it by now. After her band had taken the stage to the voodoo rattle of the old prison work song Early in the Morning, dressed like scarecrow undertakers in toppers and bowlers, she walked on to cheers, a petite presence in black. She said she had a cold, but agreed with a heckler that this was one of the joys of England.
Her set then kicked off with Weary, an appealingly maudlin country-tinged slowie she wrote with Richard Hawley. Another co-writer, Ed Harcourt, joined her to duet on the steel guitar-tinted heartbreaker Soften The Blows.
With the exception of the encores, her set drew exclusively from the new album, perhaps marking a separation from her previous slightly directionless forays into music. Songs such as Un-break and You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet have a drawl, twang and sass that should give the too pristine Lana Del Rey pause for thought. Presley's husband, Michael Lockwood, a gangling figure at her left, added raunch on lead guitar throughout.
When the band returned for an encore, they were clearly elated by the response of the crowd, and gave the debut single, Lights Out, a suitably raucous pummelling. After this, a roadie provided waiter service, giving them all a shot of tequila without which Lisa-Marie explained, they would not be able to complete their final song, a galloping cover of Tom Petty's Need to Know.
From a financial perspective, Lisa-Marie Presley clearly never needed to write or perform a single song in her life, but it's clear she has a genuine hankering to do so. What's more, judging from this hour-long gig, it would be a real shame if she didn't do more of it.