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WPGM Reviews: Rina Sawayama Live At O2 Institute Birmingham

The 15th of November became an all female powerhouse at Birmingham’s O2 Institute as Rina Sawayama, Hana and Ama Jones were ready to give the crowd a night to remember. A sense of community is what was proven from the main entrance, to the last goodbye. If music doesn’t unite one another, what else can?

Kicking off the night with a fresh sense of pop and overall good vibes is Ama Jones. It was evident as to why she was chosen to support Sawayama, as the vocals were unmatched.

Hyping up the crowd with her infectious personality, aesthetic and catchy songs, every single person in the room was having a good time. There was a sense of connection with both Ama and the crowd throughout her set. Ending her time on stage as strong as she began, Ama left the people of Birmingham wanting more.

Ama had left a positive and memorable impression. Next to do the same was HANA. Mixing trance with pop allowed HANA to present a unique sound. Her energetic stage presence, along with her obvious passion for music showed how she made perfect sense for taking the stage before Rina. It was already looking like a strong show.

And the moment everyone had been waiting for. The showstopper, Rina Sawayama gave Birmingham a warm and long awaited welcome and the show was ready to begin. Fans were finally able to hear her debut album, SAWAYAMA, in full force. “Dynasty” was what kicked it off.

Filling the whole room with her presence, there was no stopping Rina and her band. “STFU” brought another tone altogether before going straight into the crowd pleasing “Comme Des Garçons (Like The Boys)” providing the atmosphere of being in a nightclub.

It was already obvious the eclectic mix of genres Rina showcases in her music. As if this wasn’t enough, two dancers came on and the choreography began. Dancing and singing at the same time? Now that’s talent. As well as dance breaks, there were also costume changes.

Rina never neglecting the crowd, throughout the set, allowed it to feel like everyone was speaking to a friend. From laughter to thought provoking rhetorical questions, it felt like one group chat and everyone was listening.

She provided a sense of community which was evident, even more so when the ballad “Chosen Family” was performed, a tribute to the LGBTQ+ community and family. Taking to the steps to sing an acoustic version, a sense of emotion filled the whole room.

Sometimes I just wanna write a cool east, breezy summer bop”, she said, before unleashing “LUCID” which makes way for her remix of Lady Gaga’s “Free Woman”.

It feels like the music industry has found what they have been missing. Every single person that night was able to witness a star being born right in front of their very eyes.

Rina Sawayama Live At O2 Institute Birmingham (Tracklist):
‘Dynasty’
‘STFU!’
‘Comme Des Garçons (Like The Boys)’
‘Akasaka Sad’
‘Snakeskin’
‘Cyber Stockholm Syndrome’
‘Paradisin’’
‘Love Me 4 Me’
‘Bad Friend’
‘Fuck This World’
‘Who’s Gonna Save U Now?’
‘Tokyo Love Hotel’
‘Chosen Family’
‘Cherry’
‘XS’
‘LUCID’
‘Free Woman’

Words by Sarah Akomanyi

1 comment

  1. How’s it going?!

    I am thrilled to share with you the one-time event New Noise! Set in The Old Blue Last ‘East London’s most notorious venue’ (NME), the upcoming Shoreditch festival and conference is landing on the 4th of April, here to cut through industry noise with a two-part event, in support of Help Musicians charity.

    I’d really love to set something up with you for We Plug Good Music in support of the event? Let me know your thoughts on a feature, news release or interview with the directors about the event!

    New Noise is the one-off, upcoming Shoreditch day festival featuring a conference and vibey evening of music in support of Help Musicians charity. Landing on the April 4th, New Noise are here to assist emerging artists when it comes to cutting through industry clamour.

    New Noise will be raising money for Help Musicians (Founded in 1930, formally known as Musicians Benevolent Fund), helping musicians at times of crisis, but also at times of opportunity, giving people the extra support they need at crucial make or break stages in their career.

    The London event is here to inspire and assist with a two-part event. The ‘A Side’ Conference features specialist speakers discussing a wide variety of impactful topics, relatable to both musicians and all sectors of the music industry, along with the chance to learn from an esteemed panel of acclaimed industry professionals. ‘B Side’ Festival presents a music label fair, acoustic acts, and a headliner gig.

    Set in the electrifying scenes of ‘East London’s most notorious venue’ (NME), The Old Blue Last has an emporium of past performers to have animated the stage with global music successes including Arctic Monkeys, Lily Allen, Amy Winehouse, and Charli XCX.

    We look forward to hearing back from you.
    Thankyou,

    New Noise Team

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