LIVE: Beabadoobee - Chalk, Brighton, 17/10/2022 1

LIVE: Beabadoobee – Chalk, Brighton, 17/10/2022

There’s only one word for this Beabadoobee gig and that is euphoric! It’s been a long time since I’ve been at a gig where the energy was that elevated and Gen Z icon, Beabadoobee – aka Beatrice Kristi Laus – did not disappoint. All the introspective DIY bedroom indie pop has been elevated to stadium high with accompaniment from Beabadoobee’s fierce electric guitarist who raised the tracks to a bombastic level worthy of stadium rock with her pentatonic licks and fierce shredding in tracks like ‘Talk’. In fact, I think that Bea could create a whole new live album at the level that she is performing at the moment. She seems like the kind of artist who will grow sonically, carrying her audience with her. It wasn’t all hard rock and pentatonic licks though. Liberated, from genre restraints Bea took the audience on a cathartic trip into the multi-faceted recesses of her world, from gritty rebellion to tender moments of dreaming and waking, dissonance and clarity, confession and defiance, reflection and triumph. She played range of tracks from her celebrated 2022 Album Beatopia, which she described as  “A place to  escape into“, together with plenty of tracks from the 90s slacker rock aesthetic of 2020’s Fake it Flowers, taking the audience on a multi-dimensional trip through the different terrains of her world, from fuzzy rock to psychedelia, bossa nova to grunge to Midwest Emo, losing none of that celebrated raw honesty  and talent that saw her winning the NME 2020 Radar Award where she said, “There should be more chicks on stage.”

Bea seems to have seamlessly made that move from DIY bedroom alt rock to the big stage without losing any of that authentic honesty and relatability. With the fountain of lights sweeping across the stage, flashing and dancing in time to the rhythms it was easy to imagine Bea filling huge stadiums. Her voice and band dynamics could easily engulf a larger space, if they chose to. Despite the enthusiastic and euphoric crowd Bea remained humble saying, “Thank you I can’t believe people actually came.”

Like Avril Lavigne, she seems to personify the inner monologues of a generation. It looked like there was a film crew capturing the gig, and the euphoric crowd were ready for it. I don’t think they could have filmed a better crowd than this and kudos to Bea for creating this atmosphere. Every single person had their hands in the air singing from the bottom of their souls to the glitter ball on the ceiling. Even from a distance her silhouette looked iconic amongst the raised hands in front of the stage.

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A Beabadoobee gig is a celebration of the wonders of self-acceptance.  Bea was able to guide the ecstatic audience’s energy like a Shamen, guiding all to crouch on the floor for opening track ‘10.36’ before raising the roof and crashing into a fierce euphoric mosh pit with hundreds of hands in the air and people singing from the bottom of their soul, followed by grunge laced Riot Grrrl abandon in tracks like ‘Talk’ and ‘She Plays Bass‘, miraculously juxtaposing this with quiet and tender acoustic moments in ‘Coffee’ and spellbinding encore track ‘Ripples’ which had many of the audience in tears. I don’t think I have seen an artist so effectively control the energy in the room.

Chalk was vibrating with screams as she entered the stage. She is a bona fide icon. I have only ever witnessed this kind of energy for pop icons before, but everyone here was pierced and dyed in some way. “To be honest, I ‘m a bit in love with Beabadoobee” said a teenage boy to a girl who looked like his girlfriend. “We all are,” she said, rolling her eyes, and I wanted to go over and high five her. Bea certainly seems to speak for a generation of blue and pink haired pierced Gen Zers, who echo her every word with adoration. It must feel like validation for Bea to have her inner world Beatopia – which was once mocked by her teacher – being sung with devotion by the crowd. If only seven year old Bea could see her now! She seems to get the balance right between confessional inner monologues of a generation with songs like ‘Apple Cider‘ with lyrics like “I don’t even like you that much/ Wait I do…f*ck” and tracks like ‘Care’ where she sings, “Stop saying you give a shit/’Cause you don’t really/Care, care, care, yeah”. Every generation needs an artist to echo their soul and reflect their angst and inner monologues and for many it looks like this is Beabadoobee.

Bea’s voice has that honey-dripped glaze of contemporaries such as Phoebe Bridgers and the intimate confessional tone of Elliot Smith, with the creativity of Björk and narrative charms of Kimya Dawson, all cradled in a smoky bed of 90s grunge and acoustic strings. Anthemic slacker rock tracks like‘ Talk’ with its hazy pentatonic riffs act as a bridge between her first album and her second, keeping that frayed 90s pop punk energy up for her core fans and juxtaposing it with her rich, witty lyrics like, “We go together like a gum on my shoes,” echoing the droll romantic observations of Punk Poet,  Dr John Cooper Clarke whose poem, ‘I Wanna be Yours’ was covered by The Arctic Monkeys. Lyrics like “I wanna be your vacuum cleaner sucking up your dirt” echoes Beabadoobees “gum on my shoes” anti- romantic lyrics. In many ways Beabadoobee could be seen as the punk poet of her generation too. Everyone in the audience was smiling along whist screaming the lyrics at full volume. It was pure catharsis.

Bea seems to maintain that mix of fierce grungy rebellion and honest introspection. This could be the last time we see her in a venue of this size. The fans know it – the show was sold out in June and the bootleg T shirt sellers outside the venue know it too – I have never seen T shirt sellers outside such a small venue apart from the last time that Fontaines D.C. played.

After the high energy electric show, Bea came back on stage for a stunning acoustic encore, playing the charmingly introspective bounce of ‘Coffee’ which gathered hundreds of thousands of streams online within days, before a breathtaking rendition of ‘ Ripples’. You could hear a pin drop with the sound of classical violin arpeggios, reminiscent of the violin that Bea played as a child as she strummed her acoustic guitar singing, “Please don’t make me hide, I’ve been putting up a fight…/I feel alone again stuck between my friends/ ..I see my reflection so much clearer.” Some were in tears at this moment of vulnerability before ending the night on the fierce crash of ‘Cologne‘ and euphoric cheers as the lights rose and the audience literally danced out the door to Abba‘s ‘Dancing Queen‘, which is no mean feat for some fans who had been queuing outside the venue since 5pm.

We never forget our first gig, and for some fans, it looked like Beabadoobee was one of their first and what a magical euphoric moment it was. Our first gig is often the benchmark for all the others that follow and what a high mark she has set. A gig where you can say, “I was there” before she becomes stratospheric. At Glastonbury Bea said of her album, “if fans come out of it feeling like they were in some kind of lucid dream, then I’ve done my job.”  Tonight must have felt like a dream come true for some fans. The atmosphere was electric. It was filled with magic and euphoria, confessional introspection, joy and restless energy – Long may it last.

Beabadoobee is touring across the UK, USA and Canada. For more details of her Beatopia Album and tour see:

Beabadoobee – Beatopia

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.