SELF ESTEEM: Albert Hall, Manchester. 22nd March 2023.

I’ve had nearly 24 hours to process last night’s show but that doesn’t mean anything I write will make sense. However, if you’ve seen Self Esteem live then you’ll know how emotional, powerful and therapeutic the shows are.

As soon as Self Esteem took to the stage just after 9pm last night, I felt like I was going to cry. I’ve only experienced this when I first saw Nick Cave. Right before you is someone who has penned songs that are your life, your world and your thoughts. The honesty in Self Esteem’s lyrics will get you right in the heart and gut. You won’t be the same after you hear them. Experiencing it live? I won’t be the same after last night.

They performed a couple of new songs Mother and Love Second. Mother is a camp classic. It’s heavenly and euphoric. It’s one of those songs that after a few listens, you know the words by heart and you’ll be shouting them at anyone who will listen. Or won’t listen!

Everything about the show was perfect. From the sound to the dancing- if you want to know how it should be done- then go to a Self Esteem show. It will change you and it will stop you from being afraid to have feelings and feel them.

I knew I was going to cry and I knew the exact moment when I would. I Do This All The Time broke me. Fortunately, I took my mum to the show, and I just cried on her shoulder. I cried like a kid who had been told Santa wasn’t real. Like an adult whose world had been torn apart. Think of something dramatic- and that was me. I’ve never ever been able to listen to the song without crying and I can feel myself about to go again writing this! Sake! After I had my cry, I managed to record a minute or so of the song. Maybe I’ll play this when everything is shite and I feel alone. Every single song is shouted back by the crowd but my god seeing everyone in that room last night pour their heart out to this was just something else. You know when you experience something, and you know that words can’t explain it? That’s what a Self Esteem show is like.

The whole atmosphere of the show (including the two support acts Tom Rasmussen and Tom Aspaul) felt like a safe space for us Queers- I felt at home, safe and content. It was just a perfect show from start to end. Camp as tits!

The choreography is next level; they all make you wish you could move like them, and it just felt like art. The whole Self Esteem set felt like a work of art to be treasured, adored and marveled at. The honesty in Rebecca’s lyrics for me are what always has me hooked but when you see the songs that have saved you live, it all becomes something else. It gives you hope and reassurance. I looked out into the crowd from where I was sat and I could see everyone singing the words as if their lives depended on it and this was met by Self Esteem singing the songs with the same amount of raw emotion. Of all the gigs I’ve ever been to, this has meant the most for so many reasons and it is easily the one that has got to me the most emotionally.

The way EVERYONE screamed “My hunger times my impatience, makes me feel reckless” during Fucking Wizardry is incredible. It felt so cathartic. I think I need it as a tattoo just to remind myself that it’s all okay. I think this may have been the one where everyone sang the loudest, I’m not sure. But I can honestly say, and I’ve seen the Melvins and The Jesus And Mary Chain live, that this was the loudest show I’ve ever been to. The crowd were just gorgeous in every single way and beautifully loud. Just to show how powerful Rebecca’s vocals are- the crowd didn’t drown her out. She’s got some pipes on her! Everything from the effortless outfit changes to Rebecca gently playing John Elton on her own was done with such passion and dedication. I’ve never seen such a bunch of dedicated artists like this, and it was beyond inspiring. Seeing the look on Rebecca’s face when the words are sung back at her is priceless, and I don’t think I’ll ever see a band or singer respond like she does ever again.

The show ended with the band doing the conga off the stage to Shirley Bassey’s iconic This Is My Life was the campest way to end the best gig I’ve ever EVER been to. More bands need to end their shows like this. In fact, we should all leave work or any social situation doing the conga to this song.

Before I wrap this up I need to write about how you can tell just how much the band all love and adore each other. You can see the fun they have; you can see just how much they love each other. There are moments when Rebecca turns to mates on stage and asks if they are okay. The way they hold each other after certain songs. Then you have the gorgeous moment of where Rebecca hugs everyone bar Sophie and Mike and gives them formal handshakes was top tier Northern humour.

“Be very careful out there
Stop trying to have so many friends
Don’t be intimidated by all the babies they have
Don’t be embarrassed that all you’ve had is fun
Prioritise pleasure
Don’t send those long paragraph texts
Stop it, don’t
Getting married isn’t the biggest day of your life
All the days that you get to have are big
Be wary of the favours that they do for you.”

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