Tuesday 7 November 2017

Dua Lipa @ O2 Academy Brixton

Dua Lipa @ O2 Brixton Academy

Success has been a long time coming for Dua Lipa. New Love was first released way back in 2015 and since then she’s had a whole string of singles. But really, it was the release of New Rules in July this year that catapulted her to global phenomenon status, the first song in two years to top the UK charts by a solo female since Adele’s Hello.

You’d be forgiven, then, for thinking the audience at this headline show at Brixton Academy were here for one song. It was the obvious choice for the encore, even if she teased us first with a rendition of piano ballad Homesick.

But really, this was an electrifying gig from start to finish. They may not have topped the charts, but every one of her songs is a smash hit. There are the pop bangers tinged with tropical house: Hotter Than Hell, Genesis, Last Dance, Lost In Your Light (sadly sans Miguel); there’s the fizzing pop of Blow Your Mind (Mwah); the sultry euphoria of Be The One and the understated New Love; and there are the sassy feminist kiss-offs New Rules and IDGAF. She even performed her dance collaboration with Martin Garrix, Scared To Be Lonely. That song in particular had a huge reaction from the crowd, but really each song had the audience singing every word, every chorus a torrent of hooks and beats impossible not to groove to.

And that goes for Dua herself. She’s a maelstrom of high energy, strutting and whirling and twirling across the stage, flicking her arms and hair to every accented beat and every bass drop. She’s a carefree performer and her energy is infectious, whipping the crowd into a frenzy. It’s an evening about letting loose, of forgetting those “fuckboys”, of simply having fun. With her in charge, you can’t not.

Dropping the tempo for some acoustic tracks in the centre immediately saps the room of energy, however. Thinking ‘Bout You might work in a Live Lounge sort of way, but it lacks the excitement of her bigger singles. That said, the stripped back production does reveal a great vocal beneath all the high octane synths and beats, but the simple staging suddenly feels bare – some backing vocalists wouldn’t have gone amiss.

When New Rules did eventually come, the room predictably rose to a new level, the cheers and whoops threatening to burst out of the high ceiling, the hip-swaying dancing becoming that bit sweatier. For feelgood, plastic, polished pop, Dua Lipa is hard to beat and with her biggest hit to date, she’s proven herself to be a popstar for the meme generation.

4/5

Dua Lipa @ O2 Brixton Academy

Dua Lipa @ O2 Brixton Academy

Dua Lipa @ O2 Brixton Academy

Dua Lipa @ O2 Brixton Academy

Dua Lipa @ O2 Brixton Academy