The electro entertainer does his thing before a Camden crowd.
When I arrived at the Camden Town venue, shortly before 11 PM, the dance floor, flush with purple light, was already busy. (E.S.G. had been onstage a few hours earlier.) The scene was of a high-spec nightclub in full swing—an unlikely turnaround from the "unloved, smelly and sticky dark room" it used to be before a £3 million renovation in 2016. Broussard's updates to his own sound have been more modest, but not insignificant. On his new album, there are unexpected nods to the world at large. Alongside mentions of "climate change, global warming [and] ocean acidification," he laments that people are "hungry, homeless, sick and [dying] while we play on our phones."
But rest assured: Broussard didn't aspire to respectability at Jazz Cafe. That song, "The World Keeps Turning," was absent from the setlist, which was a largely familiar medley of Egyptian Lover hits and electro favourites (but regrettably no "Freak-A-Holic"). When he did play songs from 1985, they sounded a lot like the ones from On The Nile. Broussard makes music with the same fundamental tools he had three decades ago, and some might complain at how little his sound has changed. But this at least suggests a self-possessed attitude. He knows who he is and what he does best. In a climactic strobe-lit moment, as his acid house-like remix of Hardfloor's "P.E.L.F." played on a deck, he struck a Christ-like pose in wraparound shades and a black Kangol hat. Some would call that showing off; he'd call it show business.