Live Review: Mimi Webb / Blake Rose – o2 Academy, Birmingham 18.04.2023 Plus Gallery

Hope Small

Walking into the venue, this sold out crowd are already putting their young lungs to the test and singing their hearts out to the interval music only stopping to chant ‘Blake‘ as the lights fade. Second supporting the evening is Blake Rose who quickly proves to us that he is more than his good lucks – his ability to seamlessly pick up most any instrument and play it with ease is truly inspiring. Mr. Rose releases any nerves that may be on stage as he stumbles over one of his guitars after joking around with his on stage guitarist, receiving a giggle from the audience but swiftly moving on. He introduces a couple of his tracks as songs about heartbreak and being cheated on and each one is welcomed with a girlish squeal of their own. The setlist slows as we reach ‘Ordinary People‘ and phone torches light the whole room. We end on ‘Lost‘ but not before Blake lets us know that this audience’s energy puts them in his top 3 favourite crowds.

Time passes slowly as we wait for our headline act to make her way to stage and this audience is back to warming up their vocal cords, singing their way through the interval. The house lights dim for the third time this evening but before Mimi Webb arrives, her ‘Amelia‘ monologue plays through the speakers and seems like the whole of the o2 Academy stops to listen. There seems to be some nerves on stage before she eases into her performance. Waving to her audience warrants huge screams from whichever side of the stage she’s on proving that everyone who’s there is there for a reason. Our 4th song of the evening, ‘24/5‘ gets the whole room singing; this is a primarily female audience but even the lads are going feral for this one. The production levels of the show paired with Mimi‘s distinguished prove very quickly to be arena worthy.

As we reach ‘Halfway‘, this bunch of gig-goers are quick to fill in the gaps that Mimi leaves but this isn’t the loudest they can go and they’ve proved that already. She’s held her audience’s attention a lot better than a lot of musicians seem to be able to do lately which I think is a mix of her dedicated fanbase and seemingly genuine personality on stage; taking a BeReal from the stage with her audience shows us that she’s down to earth and ready to get involved. Moving on, Miss Webb let’s us know that the next song is the one that kicked everything off by going viral on TikTok and with this, the room squeals once more in anticipation of what is to come. Some girls grab their friends hands as she goes into ‘Good Without‘ and don’t let go until they’ve sang every word back to the singer-songwriter on stage whilst others shoot their phone into the air to record the event. We’re treated to quite the epic 80’s synth rock interval before we reach ‘The Other Side‘ and our headline act has taken this opportunity to do an outfit change. Swapping from her black, rhinestoned bodysuit to a silver number she briefly accessories with pride flag which she seemingly takes from an audience member and sports for the rest of the track.

Taking a seat on the steps on stage, Mimi dives into a cute anecdote of her and her cousin Lucy (who’s in the audience tonight) and how they use to preform at family events, securing her passion for music. Unfortunately, the heat of the room is starting to get to some people and her story is interrupted by someone in the middle of the crowd needed a medic. Confirming that someone got to the individual, MW gets back into her stride and continues her story before heading straight into her next song. This is where the room seems to struggle; the heat is getting to many and it seems like water isn’t being distributed often or far enough for some causing members of the audience to pass out or even leave the venue itself. The “last song” of the evening comes in the form of ‘Before I Go‘ and whoever’s left in the audience prove they’re still here by going as hard as they can when Mimi leaves it up to them to sing. The song itself is beautiful and gives her the opportunity to show off the true range of her voice and just how talented she is.

A voice over in the style of a train conductor stating “the train to London is ready to depart” plays over the speakers: a creative way to start an encore as the first track is ‘Last Train to London‘. Followed by ‘Red Flags‘ and ‘House on Fire‘ the room outdoes itself, getting louder for each track knowing that the end is near. The final note of the night plays and just like that, Birmingham’s evening with Mimi Webb is over.

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