While Rebecca Lucy Taylor’s Self Esteem was the main draw to a sold out show at West London’s Hammersmith Apollo, it would be remiss not to share news of the other acts gracing the hallowed Apollo stage tonight.
First up, playing a delightful if brief 12-minute set is Corby-hailing, London-residing former Self Esteem singer Kelli Blanchett. Appearing on stage accompanied simply with an electric guitar, she offers: “This is big isn’t it?” before going on to talk about her EP, produced by tonight’s headliner herself: Rebecca Taylor.
Sorrowful ballad Baby is shared first. Peaceful When You Sleep describes the joy of alone time once a partner has gone to sleep before Blanchett offers a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s 1984 hit I’m On Fire.
Next up is non-binary drag artist Tom Rasmussen – AKA Crystal Rasmussen when in drag. They tease, dressed in an all-enclosing raincoat before it is shed during dance tune Fantasy Island Obsession. “I’m here to get you ready for Self Esteem, so let’s dance!” he offers to cheers, thumping backing tracks kicking off Fabulous Opera, Rasmussen parading about the Hammersmith stage.
“These songs are about being trans and being queer and trying to navigate a world that’s not typically designed for … anyone really” they continue, speaking about their upcoming record Body Building. Arthur Russell cover This is How We Walk On The Moon is offered to the “6 Music dads in the room” before storming synth-led Safe showcases the incredible falsetto Rasmussen offers.
But it is RuPaul’s Drag Race star Bimini (formally Bimini Bon Boulash) that warms the crowd up properly. They appear on stage alongside a full band comprised of guitarist/keyboard player Kit, drummer Maxie Cheer and bass player Tyler Damara Kelly, their body covered up with a huge blue faux-fur coat.
“Hammersmith Apollo, let’s go!” they scream, the dance tune When The Party Ends accentuated by their London-accented spoken singing style. “My mum’s in the audience somewhere, hello mum!” they share “hopefully you’re having a Bacardi” they continue, to chuckles from the crowd before introducing a cover of Lily Allen’s The Fear, stating that Allen is “one of the best female lyricists of our generation”. Debatable. But this is the opportunity for Bimini to shed the coat, exposing what lies beneath to an enamoured West London crowd.
Jungle beats and reggae guitar-infused Sex Drugs Disco is offered up to anyone having had to deal with addiction. “If you know it, sing along. If you don’t, try” laughs Bimini as they introduce dance tune Different Kinds Of People. But it is the opening bars of New Order classic Blue Monday which kicks off a 1980s medley that has the crowd jumping, Dead Or Alive’s 1985 hit You Spin Me Round taking a turn in the eclectic mix.
Live commentary and photography @ Hammersmith Apollo by Kalpesh Patel on 11th March 2023