Self Esteem is the hottest ticket in town at London’s O2 Forum Kentish Town

Yet another landmark moment in the rise of one of the UK's greatest talents, Self Esteem is a pop star on her own terms.
Photo credit: Patrick Gunning

The hottest ticket in town is a phrase that gets thrown about a lot, but tonight’s headline moment from Self Esteem is precisely that. There’s something different about the place – something that only comes when one of the most talked-about artists of the past 12 months comes out to play. And not talked about in passing, here and there – actually leading the conversation. Tonight is the celebration of an artist living the moment she was destined to own.

“Fucking big room this.” That confidence is something embraced by tonight’s support Phoebe Green. Taking to London’s Kentish Town Forum like it’s second nature, her presence continues to grow and grow. With an ease to every moment, that raw potential we saw when she headlined the very first Dork’s Night Out back in November is only getting bolder. No matter the stage, cuts like ‘Reinvent’, ‘Grit’, ‘So Grown Up’, ‘IDK’ and new single ‘Make It Easy’ are perfectly paced in a set that’s accomplished but also a sign of ambition still to come. At one moment hypnotic and psychedelic, the next banging down the doors – Phoebe Green live sets her own mood and pulls everyone in. It becomes more evident with every show that she’s unlike anyone else.

Self Esteem was born for big moments. The screams that ring out when the lights go down feel like they’re intended for the arrival of a so-hot-right-now boyband or global superstar. In a way, they are. What follows is a set both purely uplifting and euphoric – a cathartic party impossible to resist.
Illuminated by bright lights, cowboy hat in place, tonight is nothing short of a spectacle. The opening one-two of ‘I’m Fine’ and ‘Fucking Wizardry’ are practically drowned out by the crowd who switch from calm to chaos the moment Rebecca Lucy Taylor makes her grand entrance. It’s a set dominated by ‘Prioritise Pleasure’. Bold, direct and rich in every department – it’s a record with more than a lot to say, but also one that’s immediately inviting too. ‘How Can I Help You’ beats its way across the Forum, ‘You Forever’ is unstoppable, and the title-track has arms aloft and the aisles crammed with people. Self Esteem has become a voice that everyone can feel a connection with.

‘In Time’ is a perfect snapshot – a defiant anthem of self-love and moving past heartbreak, it’s a release that rings out across Kentish Town. A chance to step into a world surrounded by friends to simply scream and shout. The impact isn’t lost on Rebecca one bit – regularly pausing, surrounded by an incredible group of singers who drive that party atmosphere even higher. There are lengthy standing ovations that seem like they’ll never stop – they’re not misplaced.

A big, bold and fun pop show – the high-energy dance routines for ‘Moody’, ‘Hobbies’ and ‘Favourite Problem’ leave the Forum in no doubt that this is Self Esteem’s time. What she represents now is something even more significant. The two screens on the side of the stage clearly display the message, “There is nothing that terrifies a man more than a woman that appears completely deranged.” The fundraising at the show for the Schools Consent Project. The overflowing world of emotion that comes from main set closer ‘I Do This All The Time’ – they all stick in the memory long after the show has finished. Done on her own terms – that’s what you call a pop star.

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