Live Review: Self Esteem – The Octagon, Sheffield 25.03.2022

James Howarth

AT 53, I’ve seen a lot of gigs, some really great ones, and this was the best I’ve ever seen, relegating the previous best, also Self Esteem at Heaven last November, into second place.

Self Esteem are more than a band now – they are a movement. Every gig is bigger, every audience is more engaged, the connection between audience and band as complete as anything I’ve seen.

Sheffield is Rebecca Taylor’s home town and they LOVE her. This evening was enormous, a near-religious experience.

Halfway through each set on tour, there’s a staged moment when Rebecca Taylor and her Singer/Dancers pose statue-still in a proud line saluting the audience with raised fists, soaking up the adulation. Usually the crowd whistles and cheers for a minute then Rebecca smiles, stands down her gang and they launch into the next song.

Not this time – they take their stance and then there are six minutes of the home crowd whooping, screaming and whistling, raising the roof. Six. Whole. Minutes. Finally, Rebecca looks left and right at her gang – Seraphina, Marged and Levi, and then breaks the spell with disbelieving laughter and tears of joy.

This is her moment of triumph – It’s electric and I feel like a witness to something amazing, something important. Forty months ago Self Esteem were playing to 60 people at the Portland Arms. Tonight there’s 1200 and her next tour finishes off at the legendary Hammersmith Apollo, capacity 5000….

Some Fucking Wizardry indeed.

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