Filipino-English, singer, songwriter and guitarist Bea Kristi – more widely known as Beabadoobee – is just 23 years of age. But that hasn’t stopped her putting out two studio LPs and five EPs since the age 18 on Dirty Hit (think The 1975, Wolf Alice, Rina Sawayama, Wallice).
Beabadoobee @ Summer Series At Somerset House 2023
And while fighting a bout of illness had seen Kristi cancel some appearances in the run up to her touchdown in her home city, she landed with a sonic boom on stage in the famous courtyard of Somerset House as part of this year’s fabulous Summer Series.
With the crowd closest to the stage and pressed up against the barrier largely comprised of young girls, it’s clear that the majority demographic Beabadoobee appeals to is that half (or rather quarter) generation younger, but that can directly associate with her, their screams deafening as a pre-recorded mantra from Beatopia Cultsong rings out over the PA.
“London! I’ve missed you” Kristi beams, as she appears on stage alongside her three-piece band, the troupe immediately breaking into sophomore record Beatopia’s lead single Talk, the volume of her audience somewhat drowning out her own vocal as the bounce-along indie anthem has the Somerset House crowd doing just that.
2019 Loveworm EP tune Apple Cider keeps the tempo up and scream-along crowd energised before more from Beatopia is offered via 10:36. “It’s good to be back, I love you guys so much, thanks for coming” she engages before diving into a trio of cuts from debut record Fake It Flowers via Together, Charlie Brown and the record’s lead single Care.
Our Extended Play cut Last Day On Earth brings an upbeat sheen that screams of The 1975’s early days and hit single Chocolate, upon digging I learn the tune was co-written with that group’s Matty Healy and George Daniel.
“It’s been a while since I’ve played a show, I’ve been pretty ill” she shares, “but I’m happy cuz we’re here” she continues as she and guitarist Jacob Bugden strap on an acoustic guitars for an outing of Bossa Nova-infused Beatopia tune The Perfect Pair.
“This next song is probably my favourite off Beatopia” Kristi offers as muted guitars and jarring sounds kick off See You Soon, the sophomore album cut’s slow-build chrouses leaving room to breathe as they crescendo, Kristi’s delicate voice accentuating the strongly-strummed acoustic guitars.
The opening bars of newest single Glue Song garner an audibly louder cheer from the crowd, it’s delicate, somewhat musical theatre stylings having the crowd swaying their arms along to.
Don’t Get The Deal lifts the Somerset House crowd out of the slow-drive and back up-tempo, the crowd bouncing along from the front (more vigorously) to the back (more sway-along), female fan-led screams rippling backwards as Kristi gets as close as she can from the rather high Summer Series stage.
Debut LP tune Back To Mars goes harder still, shiny pop giving way to indie rock before the main set is rounded out with Cologne. Beabadoobee (and later her band return) for a trio of encore songs, “I’ve got this new song coming out” she teases explaining that she loves writing on an acoustic guitar before delivering a solo rendition of breezy new tune The Way Things Go.
The whole affair is over within 60 minutes, demonstrating that the 23-year-old is probably still on the mend from her illness and not up to putting on a full 90-120 minute show. Get well soon Bea! But still, there are those at the front in awe of what they’ve just experienced while some towards the back make for the exits quickly as the final bars ring out to beat the rush.
Beabadoobee is off to North America next for both headline and festival dates across the U.S. and Canada including two stops at New York’s Terminal 5 and Chicago’s Lollapalooza festival in the city’s famous Grant Park.
Live review and photography of Beabadoobee @ Summer Series At Somerset House by Kalpesh Patel on 12th July 2023