Stacked to the top, tonight is Baby Queen embracing pop star status in a way only she can.
Words: Jamie Muir.
Photos: Patrick Gunning.
It’s three songs into her headline night at London’s Kentish Town Forum, and Baby Queen is standing front and centre with her hands on her head, gazing across the huge room. Screams ring out, applause bounces around the room in what could possibly be her grandest pop star moment to date. “This has been the most insane and incomprehensible week of my life,” Bella Latham grins. “This is the crowd I always dreamed of playing to.”
This show is right up there when it comes to full-circle moments. Bella tells the tale of how, when she first moved to London, an Excel spreadsheet of shows and magazines was a guide to getting into music. On that list? Kentish Town Forum. Except now, there’s no worry of only being able to bring three people. Stacked to the top, tonight is Baby Queen embracing pop star status in a way only she can.
Debut album ‘Quarter Life Crisis’ plays out like a diary of teenage headiness and the realities of adulthood, and with the album out in the world for under a week, songs like ‘Dream Girl’ are sung back like a generational stamp. ’23’ is an assured whip of darkness meets sugar-sweet hits, and ‘every time i get high’ prowls and soars in equal measure. ‘Buzzkill’ bubbles across the room (there’s someone blowing bubbles in the middle of the crowd’), while ‘Internet Religion’ finds bold new teeth as part of a slick and powerhouse show.
At its beating heart, though, is an artist who takes rawness and vulnerability and turns it into a superpower. The achingly real moment where Baby Queen stands centre stage to play ‘a letter to myself at 17’ and fans across Kentish Town Forum hold up signs saying “If only you knew your wildest dreams came true” takes the night to something altogether bigger. From there, it’s a takeoff through ‘Raw Thoughts’, the dazzling earthquake stonker that is ‘i can’t get my shit together’ and the unstoppable brilliance of ‘Dover Beach’.
Draped in gold, ‘Want Me’ and ‘we can be anything’ round out a night of collective celebration. “I think of the teenage version of myself looking at this now, and I don’t know what she would do,” Baby Queen notes. We’ve known it from the start, but tonight is Baby Queen saying, bring on what’s next.