Concorde 2, Brighton
March 12 2018
Words/Pictures: Steve Willcox
When Norwegian singer Sigrid played in Brighton at last year's Great Escape, the queue for her show snaked around from the venue into almost three figures. Tonight for the first date of her debut UK headline tour, the queue may not be the same, but that is only because this show sold out sometime ago.
At just 21, Scandipop sensation Sigrid Solbakk Raabe has become a hot property over the last 18 months: Her debut EP 'Don’t Kill My Vibe' drawing international recognition (over 100 million streams - and counting), before being announced the winner of the BBC Music Sound of 2018 award two months ago.
Yet as she emerges onto the stage at Concorde tonight, there's no glitzy starriness. Dressed in simple t-shirt and jeans, with her light brown hair drawn back in her trademark ponytail, she calmly walks up to the mic as a soft background intro of synths fall like raindrops and sings “friends are forever”, opening the set with ‘Go To War’, the first of her 15 songs which come out this evening. It's a powerhouse kick-off as her voice can reach both the heights, and as easily be as light as a nightingale's.
When she follows it by launching into a bopping ‘Plot Twist’, a song about people who play relationships like a yoyo, it not only shows that lyrically Sigrid can play with abstract words and still fit them into a decent pop song, but that she can also work a stage as she uses its space for her energetic bouncing footwork, that continues with ‘Schedules’, which also brings fans dancing in the aisles alongside.
‘Raw’ slows the set down showing her dark talent for an edgy, prickly ballad of why you should act a certain way after being dumped. ‘I Don’t Buy It’ picks the pace up again which leads into a perfect rendition of the catchy ‘Strangers’ with its deep bassline complementing her light and floaty voice throughout, so clear that you often look for a multitude of backing singers behind her. When the song hits the chorus, Sigrid’s voice then punches through with a determined clarity that gives you the reason to love her the more.
Heartfelt piano ballad ‘Dynamite’ brings a few tears to the eyes, and shows us new depths to her range as she delivers this with tenderness. ‘In Vain’ continues the slowed down trend of gutsy ballads, until ‘Fake Friends’ hits squarely in the eyes with its "fuck you" ideology and danceable melodies. ‘Credit’ brings out some attitude-led lyrics with passion in her voice to get it across. ‘Savage In Our Blood’, another ballad to show rich diversity in a set that is both varied and free-flowing.
Closing song of the night is the anthemic ‘Don’t Kill My Vibe’; the breakthrough debut single from early last year, sending the crowd into apoplectic delight. From its slow-building start, haunting chorus and scattered beats, to its hard-hitting lyrics ("You shut me down, you like the control / You speak to me like I'm a child / Try to hold it down, I know the answer / I can't shake it off and you feel threatened by me..."), this is one hell of powerful song, delivered with passion and intensity.
As it ends and cheers and calls ring out around the venue, the crowds are begging for more. Seeming not to want the night to end just yet either, she obliges with a stripped down karaoke version of the same song, and genuinely seems unable to contain her glee. And this my friends, is Sigrid’s key special ingredient. A perfect start to what is undoubtedly going to be replicated over the full course of this tour.