Anyone who knows me knows that I absolutely love going to concerts. I love the atmosphere, people you meet and the memories you make. I seem to have attended a heap of concerts and live shows in the last few months, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to reflect on each one and share my experience.
Only formed last year, Nasty Cherry are a female four piece rock/punk band, formed by Charli XCX (the whole process is documented in their very entertaining and drama-filled Netflix series ‘Nasty Cherry: I’m With The Band’ – seriously, go watch it). As of yet, the band have only released one EP made up of six songs, so it was interesting going into a concert knowing that over half of the songs played would be unbeknown to me and the rest of the audience. However, it did not matter one bit. In fact, I think it made the experience even better. There was less pressure of thinking ‘this is my favourite song, I have to take a video!’. It felt like they were in control and were taking us wherever they wanted to go, in a very unconventional but brilliant way. I actually especially enjoyed all the new songs they played. To say I’m eager for them to be released would be and understatement. Lead singer Gabbriette exuded so much raw, rock-star energy and really made you believe Nasty Cherry were the most famous band in the world. I never wanted their set to end, but when it did something even better happened. Around five minutes after the show ended, all four band members came out to greet the remainder of fans that stuck around. I was kinda star-struck as I’d spent weeks watching Nasty Cherry on my TV and to talk and chat with them was great. I met Gabi (lead singer) and Chloe (guitarist), who were so genuine and affectionate, gave us hugs and rounded off our chat with some pictures. This intimate gig was so unconventional and unlike any I’d experienced before, but most definitely one of the best and most memorable.
Kim Petras is a singer/songwriter raised in Germany, aspiring to be the world’s next pop megastar. Undergoing gender transition at a young age, Kim attracted large media coverage – using it all to talk about her musical aspirations. Fast forward to 2020 and she’s living her dream, having released her debut album Clarity (which I LOVE) and a Halloween-themed LP full of bops. I was eager to see Kim live and was so sad when there were no UK dates when she announced her tour. Luckily, they were added later and I snatched some tickets quicker than I could grab my credit card. Kim had some of the best live vocals of any act I have ever seen live. She was impeccable, I was really blown away. I also managed to get a spot right next to the stage, so I could see everything perfectly (always a bonus). The best part of the night was her chilling performance of ‘Icy’, with the synths and booming bass leaving my ears ringing while Kim gave her everything on stage. I think it’s fair to say that Kim is one fierce, up-and-coming artist that people should definitely be streaming.
I’ve been a fan of Halsey ever since 2015’s Badlands, and fell even further in love with her after 2017’s Hopeless Fountain Kingdom – so this concert felt like a long time coming, and it was every bit as wild as I expected it to be. The show opened with Nightmare, Halsey’s version of a head-banging rock song (and one of my favourites). Straight off the back, fire cannons were exploding and sparks were flying everywhere as she jumped around the stage chanting the anthem. Throughout the night, a variety of material from Halsey’s discography was played, including fan favourites like Colour and Without Me, as well as some under-appreciated songs from her last album such as Walls Could Talk and Heaven In Hiding. My highest anticipated song of the night was Experiment On Me, Halsey’s insane emo-rock song from the Birds of Prey soundtrack. As the song entered its bridge and the EDM elements kicked in to build to a dramatic finish, Halsey demanded everyone separate into two halves and jump into a mosh-pit when the beat dropped, and it was the wildest, most memorable moment of the night. Another favourite moment of the night was during the acoustic rendition of Finally // Beautiful Stranger, where the whole arena lit up their phones and waved along to the beautiful performance. I should also note that Halsey’s vocals were impeccable, and her energy and presence were thoroughly felt throughout the night. This is definitely one of my favourites of the bunch.
Melanie Martinez’ sophomore album K-12 was one of my favourite albums of 2019, so I thought going to watch the live show was appropriate. When we arrived at the venue, (a whole hour before-hand), there was a queue that I swear wrapped around the whole of Leeds. After eventually entering, we only had to wait a few minutes before Melanie appeared on stage. Because there were so many people, we didn’t manage to get too close; but the experience was still an enjoyable one. The production of the tour felt rich and expensive, with new and elaborate theatre set pieces being brought on stage to coincide with every single song. The show followed the order of her album tracklist, following the storyline and visual elements of the K-12 film. My highlight of the night was hearing my favourite track of K-12 live, ‘High School Sweethearts’. She performed the brilliant pop song to perfection, following the choreographed dance routine from the video and emitting vocals that sound straight out of the studio. Her voice is so gentle and soothing, the whole show felt dreamy, and I’d love to relive it again.
Granted, this one is just over three months ago, but I couldn’t not write about it. Charli XCX is probably my favourite artist in the music industry, so I could not WAIT to finally watch her perform live, after waiting for her to tour for what seems like an eternity. Jumping on stage to Next Level Charli, she kicked off the show perfectly, with high energy and shiny, auto-tuned vocals. She maintained this energy throughout the show, especially with Shake It, where she invited multiple local performers and drag queens on stage to kick and twirl through the featured artists verses. One of my favourite performances was ‘Official’, where the whole room slowed down to watch Charli drop her guard and wear her heart on her sleeve. The glistening track sounded even better live than I’d have thought – it gave me goosebumps. Charli is the sole focus of the whole show, effortlessly commanding the stage while performing in front of a cube. The atmosphere of the night veers very much towards an after-hours rave. She pays tribute to the LGBTQ+ community towards the end of the show by draping a rainbow flag around her whilst performing ‘Blame It On Your Love’. She rounded off the night with her latest mainstream hit, ‘1999’ an effervescent pop song serving pure nostalgia. Seeing Charli live only solidified her as my favourite musical artist and proved that she is the sound of pops future.
Millie Turner is a singer-songwriter from East London. I wasn’t familiar with that much of her back catalogue before her show, but I was so impressed. The show saw Millie perform a versatile set of her consistently hypnotic pop belters including ‘Night Running’ and ‘January’. ‘Night Running’ was my favourite, the mellow electric track made the whole crowd move and sway along to the beat. She also delved into acoustics, bringing out her guitar and band members to deliver a softer version of some of her hits.
Tokyo-born, British pop-star Rina Sawamaya is one of musics up-and-coming stars. Her set had all the hallmarks of a classic pop show – an army of backing dancers, costume changes and fans chanting her anthems back at her. She ran through her mini-album ‘RINA’ and played some of her recent single releases from the past few months. My favourite part of Rina’s set was when she performed ‘Cherry’. She screamed to the crowd “Who here is queer?” to which practically the whole room roars in response. Her sound is drenched in 00’s nostalgia, but also forward facing. This came across in the performance too, with striking visuals accompanying her electrifying performance. Rina not only has extreme talent as a vocalist, both in the studio and live, but also as a dancer – her stage presence is really felt. This was an unexpected hit for for me, I really didn’t think I’d love it as much as I did and can’t wait to hopefully watch her perform again in the future.
Admittedly, I hadn’t listened to Pale Waves too much before seeing them live, but I can promise that’s changed. The Manchester-based band performed a range of songs from their album and EP. My favourites were the self proclaimed ‘gay song’ Red, Eighteen and Television Romance. The band had great energy and created a sleek, alternative atmosphere for their show. The stage definitely aided them too, with blinding strobe lights and moody red spotlights setting the scene for their indie-pop production. I’d definitely love to see them again one day.
Have you been to any concerts recently? Or if not, who do you want to see?