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Hawke of the town
She’s named after a chessy ‘80s fantasy flick but there’s a lot more to Ladyhawke than retro vibes and over the top fashion.
Ed Power, 06 Mar 2009
An expression of profound disdain flashes across Pip Brown’s face. It’s a frosty spring afternoon in Paris but it isn’t the rigours of life on the road or the quality of hotel room service which are stoking her ire: it’s her home country’s obsession with chasing an egg-shaped object through the mud. “Everybody in New Zealand is fucking crazy about rugby,” thunders Brown – aka ‘80s-glazed fem-rocker Ladyhawke. ‘There’s such a macho culture – and if you don’t buy into it, you feel as if you totally don’t belong.”
Not fitting in has become something of a habit for Brown, whose emotive vintage pop has seen her tipped as one of 09’s buzziest contenders. Gangly and with a borderline personality disorder (more of which later), she refuses to wear women’s clothes (“I’m tall and I look stupid in them:) and dares splash a toe in the forbidden water of ‘80s cheese pop (with a little pressing, Brown admits to a fondness for Pat Benatar, though denies she’s an influence).
You could get a sense of how big Brown is poised to become when she touched down in Dublin recently for a sell-out debut. With a swooning audience roaring her on, the show was a triumph – surprisingly shy, Brown appeared genuinely overwhelmed by the love coming her way. But it could so easily have been a disaster: she nearly had to cancel when her flight was diverted from Dublin to Belfast on account of a dusting of snow on the runway.
“Oh my god – that was soo stressful,” she recalls. “We ended up on the runway in Belfast thinking, how are we going to make it to Dublin, are we going to have to pull the show? Then they sent a van up for us and we dashed straight to the venue. Totally nervewracking.”
Worse yet, when the gig did actually get underway, one of Brown’s laptops packed in half way through – she had to improvise the outro to a song while the computer went batshit crazy in the background.
“We’d been using a cheap replacement – which goes to show you never can trust technology, especially when it’s just been cobbled together.”