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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

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