West London-based Irish artist Biig Piig performed at her first-ever Los Angeles headlining date on Thursday at LA’s The Echo, to revelers with an appetite for soul and dance music. It’s often a really strong sign for a hitmaker when the crowd is mixed across backgrounds and ages, and clearly Piig’s (real name: Jessica Smyth) tunes are bringing people together. We featured Biig Piig last week and that interview can be read here. Multi-instrumentalist neo-soul singer V.C.R (who also goes by Vthemartian) had opener honors.
Biig Piig launched with new Bubblegum EP bop “This Is What They Meant”, setting the mood with its carefree mid-tempo vibe followed by “Don’t Turn Around” which samples Montell Jordan’s “Get It On Tonite” with hot bass from Mistine and some lively drums courtesy of Brandon Shoop.
“This is crazy”, exclaimed Smyth. “This is my first run of headline shows in the US. Thanks so much for coming out. I literally lived up the road from here and I said maybe one day I’d play here.” After the crowd cheered her on after this fun fact, “Sunny” was up with its soul-meets-disco elements, appealing drums and percussion and overall bright, feel-good attitude while Smyth danced across the stage with her hands above her head at one point encouraging clapping.
If being a bilingual artist is a secret weapon for Biig Piig (it is!), then “Roses and Gold” was the first of four songs to showcase her effortless ability to not only blend styles but also language within her music. A red stage wash took over for the down-tempo track with an easy-going rap from Smyth. Her vocal carried wonderfully in Spanish and definitely offered something sultry as well. Another Spanglish tune, 2018’s “Perdida” showed off a jazzier side of Smyth’s voice with blue spotlights shooting down from the ceiling, as the singer smiled at her fans, taking some hands and saying thank you. Biig Piig encouraged creators in the crowd to not be scared to release their music and then played a pleasant, down-tempo “Shh”. This one (also bilingual) was followed by noticeable excitement from the fans on moody “Oh No”, with Smyth later thrashing about while stomping during the instrumental and the crowd loved it.
“In The Dark” was one of the best of the night, wavering between indie rock and dance-pop, shining on the empowerment tune about dancing away the pain from someone in the past. Next was 2021 collab with British electro band Metronomy, “405”, with Smyth whisper-singing beautifully on the alluring new wave tune and jumping all over. Smyth smiled a bunch like she did throughout the set and has an infectious presence that you can’t help but smile back.
The melody and chill production were hypnotic on “Ghosting”, absolutely beautiful with magenta lights hitting as Biig Piig went from English to Spanish and back to English. The twangy indie rock guitar gave “American Beauty” it’s 90s feel, yet another direction for the rising star. The surprise of the night was Deb Never showing up for the frantic energy of the two-step banger “Picking Up” which set the place on fire and had everyone dancing including the two stars. Their collaboration is special because both artists are equally eclectic and fearless in terms of sound and style.
The bass kicked off “Switch” for its uptempo garage production, which had Biig Piig shouting a bit, sort of in an indie/punk rock kind of way. The drums crushed the rhythmic tune and Smyth was dancing non-stop, with the tune giving off a bit of a late 90s Fatboy Slim trip-hop thing. More two-step was in store on “Fun” with its warped sounds and lots of hair-whipping from Smyth as she commanded the stage.
“It’s such a beautiful experience to share the room with you,” said Smyth before playing her beast of a nu-disco track “Feels Right.” The Echo was alive like a nightclub, if even for a few minutes with Biig Piig moving like a jumping bean, while the bass and drums smashed a song that sounded as incredible live as it does on the record. It also sounds hand-picked off a Jungle album. (Yes, we are manifesting a Biig Piig feature on a future Jungle song!)
For her encore, Biig Piig played her smash “Kerosene” which was named Radio 1’s Hottest Record last year. “You made my first LA show so memorable,” said Smyth. “I love you”, and Biig Piig formed a heart with her hands after the huge ending.
Words by Michael Menachem
Photos by Zoe Sher