Review and Photos by Katarina Nikolic
On October 28th, Filipino-British indie artist Beabadoobee made the New York stop of her Beatopia Tour at Brooklyn Steel. While it’s not often you find yourself in the midst of a modern rockstar, last week, I was. Supported by her band members, guitarist Jacob Bugden, bassist Eliana Sewell, drummer Luca Caruso, and openers Lowertown, Bea gave a show to remember.
Beatrice Kristi Laus has been making her mark on the indie sphere for over four years now, and her recent shows are true evidence of artists coming into their own. The setlist consisted of both old and new songs, sung and played with the same quality–if not better than– their recordings. The opener Lowertown, despite being unfamiliar to most of the audience, served as an engaging and fun introduction to the night.
Bea’s vocals, consistent, airy, and unapologetically sweet, are always refreshing to hear within the male dominated indie-rock field. New, hard hitting arrangements and stellar sound-mixing breathes new life into older songs such as “Back to Mars,” while new tracks such as “Don’t get the deal” and “10:36” demonstrated the growing complexity and skill present in the act’s musicianship.
The true centerpiece of the night was the acoustic performance of “The Perfect Pair,” “Ripples,” and “See you Soon,” supported by a string section. The addition of violins added an ethereal quality to the songs, creating an intimate environment between Laus and the audience. This was especially true during “Ripples,” a song that Beatrice stated is about not having many positive male role models in her life. She started crying in the middle of the performance, while the band continued playing. The show went on with a newfound closeness of the artist to the crowd, and a new understanding of the deep meaning of both Bea’s music and her own relationship to it.
What truly showcases Beabadoobee and her band as rising stars is the continual drive to play with new sounds (for example, the incorporation of strings), but keeping the signature nostalgia and faithfulness to their influences. The recent involvement of guitarist Jacob Bugden in the songwriting process, even singing on some tracks, gives the audience the idea that the pair is a force to be reckoned with.
It seems increasingly apparent that “Beabadoobee” is becoming more than just a solo act. Fake it Flowers, her first LP, was heavily inspired by the teen-movie-soundtrack and the bubble grunge sound of the 90’s and early 2000’s (think Avril Lavigne, Michelle Branch, Liz Phair). On Beatopia, she expands her influences in both time and genre, with tracks reminiscent of The Strokes, Cibo Matto, Natasha Bedingfield, and American Football. Her musical palette continues to diversify, and the exploration of different live performance styles and instrumentation is a clear example of how she’s excels. As her sounds and influences matures and becomes more varied, Bea and her collaborators show a knack for curation and synthesize old with the new- which is not present amongst many of her peers. This means looking back at past eras of music, but also looking back at her own work and bringing new elements to the forefront.
Beabadoobee is striking a path and leaving the footsteps of a future rockstar on every stage she plays. From 2019’s Loveworm to 2021’s Our Extended Play to Beatopia (2022), the sentimentality, sensitivity, imaginative exploration, and stage presence displayed during her show in Brooklyn proves that Beatrice and her bandmates are only going up from here.