Beabadoobee has avoided being pigeon-holed in her career so far, changing genres at every turn. From a folksy acoustic beginning (2018’s Patched Up), to a punchy indie sound (2020’s debut album Fake It Flowers) and more recently the nineties inspired guitar-pop of the Our Extended Play EP, Beabadoobee (real name Beatrice Laus) has kept hopscotching between scounds. The 21-year-old flaunts this sonic flexibility live, making for an unsettled but electric performance.
Beabadoobe kicked off her Sound City performace with the grittier, more lo-fi tracks from her discography. The explosive hooks and percussion in ‘Care’ and ‘Dye It Red’ bring the required energy needed to fill the dome-shaped room at Liverpool’s Grand Central. ‘She Plays Bass’ is a particular highlight of this style, with an infectious hook and shimmery guitars. The very rock ‘n’ roll lime green Fender and unfaultering spirit of the drummer help to raise the atmosphere at the venue, but Laus’ impressive vocals seem drowned out and a little muted.
Dialling back with an acoustic guitar, earlier tracks like ‘Tired’ and ‘Coffee’ help bring Laus’ vocals forward. The latter (famously sampled and transformed by Canadian rapper Powfu into a Tik Tok hit) is a clear favourite amongst the Liverpool crowd.
It is Laus’ more recent singles which fit the Grand Central venue best though. Not only are they energetic enough to fill the room but the slightly muted vocals don’t seem to devalue the performance as they rise better above the more pop-styled instrumentation. Besides the doo-wop style chorus of ‘Last Day On Earth’ is instantly infectious without any prior knowledge of lyrics.
Despite not having a great deal of interaction with the crowd, Laus is visibly enjoying playing live and has a brilliant connection with the band which is always great to see as a punter. Who knows what direction Beabadoobee will take next but it feels as though she will choose whatever she enjoys most, and this level of independence and sonic flexibility makes for live shows which feel natural and free spirited.