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WPGM Reviews: Reneé Rapp Live At O2 Academy Birmingham (In Pictures)

On a cold, wet and windy February 28th, Reneé Rapp brought her charming and electric Northern Carolina spirit to the O2 Academy Birmingham to warm the souls of her British fans (and some that flew over from Australia)

Before the crowds even entered the venue, there was already an aura of excitement and communal safety with the queues of people chanting, cheering, and complementing each other’s ‘fits’ as they protected their homemade signs from the turbulent weather.

As Towa Bird’s alternative indie rock guitars licks and Sekou’s soulful, captivating performance equally whipped the crowd up into an infectious electrified state, ready for the ‘Queen B’s entrance.

As soon as the lights went down and Reneé Rapp skipped on stage to the first few notes of the rocky “Talk Too Much”, the atmosphere skyrocketed. Following this was the more mellow, yet increasingly scathing and catchy “Poison Poison”, which allowed the audience to let out their frustration at any love interests that are also “so annoying, they could poison poison”.

She paused momentarily between songs to check out the homemade signs, kindly ask the fan who was there on crutches to lower them for their own safety and try to talk to a fan’s sister over FaceTime (that sadly didn’t answer). Rapp continued with “Willow” which lifted the crowd’s spirit even higher with the fan’s inner knowledge of what was coming towards the climax of the song, her iconic twerk.

The high energy introductory songs were slowly and masterfully transitioned into a reflective portion of the set. Joined by Towa Bird, a guitar and a couple of stools to create an intimate mood for a few songs, including a cover of The Cranberries’ “Linger”. Even during these slower moments, Reneé’s charisma and connection she had created with the crowd never dissipated, with everyone hearing and feeling every word she beautifully sang.

This reflective and slower mood at the halfway point in the show was acknowledged by the recipient of the Regina George crown, as she immediately switched gears into her Megan Thee Stallion featuring single “It’s Not My Fault”.

As the set list continued, the synergy between the Mean Girls star and her fans shone through. The casual conversational comments had with the audience, the acknowledgment of the efforts and the concern for their safety was sincere and made it hard not to see why it’s not her fault they’re like in love with her.

Already armed with a discography that covers many moods and vibes, a series of established fan rehearsed moments, in a similar vein to Taylor Swift.

Reneé Rapp is a proud, unapologetic, charismatic, and charming personality on the precipice of being one of the next big superstars and I couldn’t recommend seeing her live highly enough for an evening of catharsis, bad bitch energy and a safe and accepting community.

Words and photography by Sam Huntley

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