Beabadoobee: Marble Factory, Bristol – live review

Beabadoobee - Marble Factory, BristolBeabadoobee
Marble Factory, Bristol
25th September 2021

Embarking on her first headline tour, the viral artist delivers a punchy and captivating set at the Marble Factory in Bristol. Elliott Simpson reviews, with photography by Michael Brumby.

Thanks to her viral breakout single Coffee, it’d be easy to write off Beabadoobee as a flash-in-the-pan bedroom artist. However, the EPs she’s released since that first single have shifted further and further away from its lo-fi sound and, as she tours behind her debut album Fake It Flower, her show more readily calls to mind the alternative rock titans of the ’90s. Think Nirvana, Pavement and Smashing Pumpkins.

In this sense, Coffee feels a lot like Beabadoobee’s Creep. Though she readily busts it out during the show’s encore – armed with an acoustic guitar – she lets the audience do most of the singing. It feels like an allowance so she can play the sort of music she really wants to play.

Beabadoobee: Marble Factory, Bristol – live review

And if any of the audience came along just to hear this one song, it really doesn’t show. Material from last year’s Fake It Flowers makes up the majority of the show and the crowd sings along the whole way through. An early highlight of the show comes in the form of the album’s lead single Care, which shows off Beabadoobee’s embrace of ’90s rock at its best. It’s an electric song with a big chorus, which the whole crowd happily belts out, pumping their fists in the air as they do so.

It’s hard to understate how rapturous the crowd is tonight, and even in-between songs they’re screaming and waving to Bea. With it being her first headline tour, you can imagine it being a little overwhelming. She takes it in her stride though, commenting a couple of songs in, ‘You guys are wild, huh?’ Later on in the show, after wiping herself down with a gym towel, she throws it into the crowd as a joke. Immediately, the audience struggles and fights over it. ‘Oh God, that was embarrassing,’ she says. ‘Let’s all pretend that never happened.’

Beabadoobee - Marble Factory, Bristol 3 Beabadoobee - Marble Factory, Bristol 4

Like many artists who released albums in 2020, Bea and her band have been waiting a long time to tour behind Fake It Flowers. So, it’s not surprising that songs from it make up the majority of the set. Worth It is just as anthemic as Care, featuring a more shimmering, dream-pop slant, while Sorry is a slower ‘phone torch-waving’ number that explodes into a grungy Nirvana-like outro. They’re the sort of songs that were designed to be played loudly to a huge crowd, and so it’s great to finally see them in a live context.

Bea and her band also find room for some older cuts as well. She Plays Bass is jangly and spacey in all the right ways, showing off her ability to write a great hook. On the flip side, there’s the stripped-back Tired, which is built around an acoustic guitar and a wordless-yet-catchy earworm of a chorus.

Following the obligatory encore break, Bea plays the aforementioned Coffee before closing the show out with Cologne, one of her newest songs. Playing these two songs back to back illustrates just how far she’s come as an artist. Cologne is a real thumper, boasting a huge hook. It still features the same ’90s slant as the material from Fake It Flowers, but it’s a little weirder and a little more off-kilter. More than anything, it hints at where Beabadoobee could go next, and it’ll be exciting to see what new sounds she has up her sleeve next time she comes to Bristol.

You can find Beabadoobee online here:

All words by Elliott Simpson. More writing by Elliott for Louder Than can be found at his author’s archive and other work on his website

Photos by Michael Brumby. More work by Michael can be found on his website

Leave a Reply