mon 14/06/2021

Dua Lipa, Brighton Dome review - tomorrow's star today | reviews, news & interviews

Dua Lipa, Brighton Dome review - tomorrow's star today

Dua Lipa, Brighton Dome review - tomorrow's star today

Britain's latest favourite girl-pop success story partially seals the deal on the road

High hopes are riding on Dua Lipa. Tonight is the first date of her Self-Titled Tour, but it ends next April. In between, it will travel all over the world, culminating in a series of British stadium dates, the last one at the Alexandra Palace. Such confidence is born of a string of hits across Europe, culminating in this summer’s UK chart-topper, “New Rules”. When she kicks off her show at the Brighton Dome, the near-capacity audience is buzzing, and sing along to one of her bigger successes, “Hotter Than Hell”. This crowd really are onside. They’ve been chanting her name, on and off, for half an hour before she appeared.

Dua Lipa is a very 21st century pop star. Of British-Albanian extraction, her teen years at Sylvia Young Theatre School, YouTube showcasing, and a brief modelling career, were followed by Warner Brothers “developing” her from age 19. She runs on to wild applause wearing a black bra top and high-waisted green Oxford bags that cover her shoes and touch the floor. With ironed straight hair, she is model pretty, yet still maintains something of the everygirl. Behind her a three-piece band of efficient young pros play synths, guitar and drums in front of a trapezium screen that tends to show misty, mysterious, fashionista art film of the singer.

If she can deliver on these beginnings, she has the makings of star

With only one album under her belt, a multi-producer affair featuring work by A-list songwriter/producers-for hire, her set still lasts an hour-and-a-half. The best numbers are snappy examples of the anthemic female self-empowerment phone-pop that currently rules chart-land. Before the acronymic “IDGAF” with its chorus of “I don’t give a fuck”, the screen dedicates it to all the “fuckboys who have done you wrong”, and asks that we raise our middle fingers to salute them. It’s spiky, electro-riffy, and very, very now, swiftly followed by the hit “Blow Your Mind (Mwah)”, its bangin’ 4/4 kick and title kiss turning the venue into a school disco rave-up.

Dua Lipa also wants to display her sensitive side so occasionally clambers down and stands aloft the front barricade. She sings the ballad “New Love” from here, “the first song I ever wrote”, accompanied by only her guitarist. In truth, she’s yet to develop the venue-encompassing charisma, quirkiness and imagination with which stars such as Lady Gaga and Beyoncé hold huge venues captive, and she doesn’t have enough memorable and varied songs to go beyond the I-like-it-because-I just-heard-it-on-the-radio-(but-will-have-forgotten-it-by-next-year) audience. However, she’s at the start of her career, and it would be crass – and very male music journo – to tear her down for this. After all, if she was rocking out in some sweaty cellar, playing bum notes at every turn, she’d receive a pass.

Dua Lipa may be at the start of a rise from current pop success to something bigger. Her individuality will eventually need amping beyond the pleasant-but-feisty everygirl schtick. For now, though, she has “New Rules”, one of the year’s most whip-smart pop songs, tight R&B electro-pop with that killer line – also on tee-shirts in the lobby – “And if you’re under him, you ain’t getting over him”. She saves it for last, of course, at the end of a triumphant three-song encore in front of a by-now baying crowd, multitudes of young women and men having a top night out. She leaves them on a high, wanting more. If she can deliver on these beginnings, she has the makings of star.

Overleaf: watch the video for Dua Lipa "New Rules"


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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