beabadoobee soothes and smashes sold-out crowd at Fonda

The delightful beabadoobee played to a sold-out crowd, her first of two shows at the Fonda Theatre last night, highlighting some new material from recent EP Our Extended Play as well as songs from over the past four years or so. The 21-year-old Filipino-British phenom (whose real name is Beatrice Laus) strikes the difficult balance of delicate bedroom pop and grunge/alternative rock with ease and a level of showmanship that is not too common these days. beabadoobee could be seen smiling and rather delighted to be spending an hour with her LA fans decked out in a blazer and skirt suit for the entire 60 minutes, while there were numerous guitar changes whisked in front of her between songs.

Photo by Justin Higuchi

The band entered the stage in white, Bea joined them right after, smiling, heading straight to her guitar center stage and started “Sun More Often” with ease, whipping her hair gently after a verse, as the heads started rumbling. “LA, how are you feeling?”, Bea asked her fans?

The singer-songwriter jumped into “Care”, the lead single off her debut album Fake It Flowers next, picking up the moody vibe with her 90s-happy anthem as heads bopped more wildly, dancing ensued, hands were up and the crowd joined in on the lyrics. beabadoobee’s alluring voice shined on this one and the crowd was jumping by the song’s end.

She continued with two more from the album, “Dye It Red” with its laid-back mid-tempo groove, coupled with a lovely vocal and outstanding instrumental break from guitarist Jacob Bugden, bassist Eliana Sewell and drummer Luca Caruso, followed by rock song “Together”.

The dreamy ballad “Disappear” was next, with some hands swaying in the air and Bea coming closer to the crowd for a smile at the end. beabadoobee put a finger to her lips to quiet the crowd for the delicate “Sorry” which picked up slightly with guitars and drums, evoking moments of classic Nirvana.

Bea smirked midway through “She Plays Bass” at her bass player, foreshadowing what led to Bea going in on a full-on make-out sesh with Sewell at the end of the song. The crowd went wild. “You feeling alright, you good?”, yelled beabadoobee to her fans. The grungy “Yoshimi, Forest, Magdalene” was next with Bea intensely whispering the song title before the second half found the band thrashing as the fans jumped and completely rocked out.

A clear favorite of the night was the danceable “He Gets Me So High” (co-penned and produced by The 1975’s Matthew Healy and George Daniel) one of beabadoobee’s brightest, happiest songs, finding the artist moving away from center stage with the mic, taking in grins and energy from Bugden and Caruso. Bea actually looked rather comfortable away from her guitar, dancing to the new wave-y song and working the microphone as she really felt the song —something she may want to consider more of on future performances because she’s certainly a presence.

Photo by Justin Higuchi

“Charlie Brown” was up next, another grunge-flavored jam for a new generation, picking up quickly with fans jumping and some guitar moments reminiscent of Smashing Pumpkins. The acoustic guitar was brought out and Bea mentioned a slow one was up next, “Tired”, showcasing a beautiful vocal, twinkling guitars and even some slight vibes from Alanis Morissette and Fiona Apple’s songbooks.

A “fan” threw something on the stage and beabadoobee picked it up and said “Someone threw Shakespeare [book] on stage, cause we’re British”. The somewhat humorous moment was followed by “Back To Mars”, finding Bea starting to really work the stage like a front woman and moving around to the distorted track.

Photo by Justin Higuchi

The set concluded with two biggies, the drum and guitar-heavy “Worth It”, a totally groovy and intense song, ending with Bugden opening his arms to the crowd to mosh —and that they did! “Last Day On Earth” (also co-penned/produced by Healy and Daniel) was a breath of fresh air, with the pop stars’ inescapable “shoop-do-shoo-do, badobadoos”. The members of openers Christian Leave and BLACKSTARKIDS enthusiastically entered the stage, taking in the joy of the song together as Bea took a fan’s phone and filmed herself on the video for half a verse.

The encore highlighted the huge contrast in beabadoobee’s infectious material. First up was the acoustic guitar-led “Coffee” with its pure and gorgeous melody. It is arguably one of the most evergreen, timeless songs to emerge from the pandemic even though it was released in 2017 (the song exploded in 2020 on TikTok via Canadian rapper Powfu’s sampling on his 2019 single “Death Bed (Coffee for Your Head”).

“Cologne” on the other hand, was a huge moment (and not surprisingly, another co-pen/production by Healy and Daniel), with the lights blazing and flashing, the crowd going crazy and the guitars totally smoking it throughout. A big mosh pit ending with water thrown closed out the hourlong set. Bea threw her guitar pick out to fans with some sass and the band waved, arm in arm.

Photo by Justin Higuchi

beabadoobee’s set was a bit too short, however she managed to showcase a variety of her talents on various guitars and her totally soothing vocals, suited for acoustic and dreamy pop songs as well as alternative and grunge material. beabadoobee’s 2nd show is tonight at LA’s Fonda Theatre, joined again by Texas indie-rock artist Christian Leave as well as Kansas City indie-pop/hip-hop group BLACKSTARKIDS. Both acts join beabadoobee for the remainder of her North American tour which runs through December 11.

All photos by Justin Higuchi

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