The British pop singer's chilly YouTube allure fails to translate in a show that's long on techno trappings but short on charisma.
The hooded gold-lamé riding cape seemed like a good sign Wednesday night at the El Rey Theatre, where the English pop singer Little Boots played a sold-out show in support of her debut album, "Hands."
Known to her parents and to the accounting staff at Elektra Records as Victoria Hesketh, Little Boots makes shiny, buzzing dance music that foregrounds her fascination with technology, and her El Rey concert actualized those gear-head tendencies.
In addition to playing keyboard, she at various points strapped on a keytar, plucked out notes on a laser harp and constructed loops on a Tenori-On, a futuristic Japanese gizmo that resembles a kind of musical Lite-Brite.
Yet Little Boots also appeared determined to demonstrate she's not just a technician. Not long after arriving onstage in the riding cape, she removed it to reveal a more form-fitting outfit, one better suited to prancing about while she sang "New in Town," a catchy "Hands" highlight in which she promises to "show you a real good time." Later in her hourlong set, she changed into a sparkly black muumuu (or the top half of it anyway) and pumped her fist as she rode the pneumatic disco beat of "Stuck on Repeat."
As fetching as those costumes were -- and despite a grade-A laser show -- Little Boots didn't really succeed in proving her pop-star mettle. The problem wasn't her material: Funny and sexy in equal measure, "Hands" is packed with small-wonder delights; it's the kind of pop record that sounds as good through headphones as it does on a car stereo. And Little Boots' three backing musicians did solid work at the El Rey, adding live-band muscle to the sleek electronic grooves.