Featured image: Georgina Hurdsfield
The first time we saw Beabadoobee was on The Dirty Hit Tour in 2019 at Manchester’s Gorilla. Even during her bedroom-pop beginnings, it was clear that she was destined for bigger venues. Now, three years later, she’s headlining a packed-out Manchester Academy 1. Whether you discovered her through her TikTok famous hit, ‘Coffee’, or through her latest Beatopia era – expectations were high for her set, and dare we say, they were easily matched or surpassed.
The crowd’s enthusiasm was already high before she could take to the stage. It was consistently ear-splitting and would continue for her 21-song-strong set. Her opening track ‘10:36’ from her latest album Beatopia, saw the crowd jumping and moshing. Perhaps highlighting her fan demographic or Bea’s ability to command a weekend atmosphere on a typical Thursday, it was inconsequential – all that mattered was that we were able to enjoy the night together.
During one of her heavier tracks, ‘Care’, it was clear how much her stage presence has grown, especially for this heartbreak anthem. Always tackling emotions that others can relate to, it was clear from the reaction of her fans how cathartic her music is. During ‘Charlie Brown’, the repetition of “throw it away”, had a fan doing the Newport Helicopter. Maintaining this energy throughout the night, while onstage and ordering the crowd to join her for ‘Sunny Day’, it was clear that this was Bea’s show.
Slowing it down for ‘The Perfect Pair’ and sitting on stage, showed how unafraid Bea was to showcase her vulnerabilities. A heartwarming track with an upbeat melody to match, ‘He Gets Me So High’ was special to witness live. Her favourite track of the record, ‘See You Soon’ featured soft strumming on an acoustic guitar with Bea under a single spotlight.
What perhaps could’ve been meme-worthy much like Beabadobee’s artist name, ‘Yoshimi, Forest, Magdalene’, actually wonderfully reflects her originality as an artist. Accompanied by a moshpit erupting like a volcano, we weren’t the only ones who thought so.
Featuring the angst of a pop-punk ballad with a dash of Avril Lavigne energy thrown in, the repetition of “I’m sorry” in ‘Sorry’, exuded emotion. Certainly capturing the essence of space with phone lights akin to stars in the darkness, ‘She Plays Bass’ was incredible in its empowering nature. Channeling similar energy, ‘Back to Mars’ saw drummer Luca Caruso chucking his towel from his drumkit – throwing down the gauntlet for anyone challenging their genre-bending nature.
‘Dye It Red’ also channeled this mood and confirmed our answer to the question of her being a future headliner? We think so. In fact, if we are nitpicking, the only comment remotely close to criticism would be that while ‘Talk’ was incredible live, it did feel like a wasted opportunity not to change, “We go out on a Tuesday” to ‘Thursday’ – that’s just being pedantic and proves how flawless the performance was.
After briefly vacating the stage, it wasn’t long before the encore, which had to include, ‘Coffee’. Sitting on a stool in the centre of the stage in almost complete darkness except for the fans waving their phones with their lights on. Garnering the biggest applause of the night with the song that started it all. Helping a fan who wanted a glass of water from security, it seems her fans will always be her priority.
Keeping the intimate atmosphere going with ‘Ripples’, was an interesting choice as normally the most high-powered are saved for last – however, Beabadoobee has always proved she does everything on her own terms. The folk number had a heartwarming melody that wouldn’t be out of place in a Disney movie and its theme of finding yourself, was perfect as we neared the end.
Finishing with the heavier grunge-rock track ‘Cologne’, indicated how the content of her music has matured with her and had guitarists Eliana Sewell and Jacob Bugden on their knees for the finish.
Throwing picks and sticks into the crowd, it had been another triumph for Bea and her band. Translating the tracks to the live arena with gusto no matter the differences in genre, while maintaining a lofty amount of stage presence – it was clear that it’s Manchester Academy tonight but with Manchester Arena headliner within reach, and we’re looking forward to seeing it happen.