The opening night of Norwegian pop sensation Sigrid’s UK tour had sold out in a flash as soon as it was announced, even before the BBC crowned her as the winner of their Sound Of, 2018 award. The list of previous winners reads like a who’s who of modern music stars – Adele, Michael Kiwanuka, HAIM, Sam Smith and Years & Years have all come top of the prestigious industry award during the last decade. With just one EP and a couple of other singles to her name, Sigrid Solbakk Raabe may have only just turned 21 but all of the signs are pointing towards global domination for the diminutive singer from the small town of Ålesund.
With all that in mind, there was a palpable sense of anticipation within Concorde 2 as the venue filled way before the headline act took to the stage. Amongst the dedicated fans that Sigrid has already gathered were many curious onlookers, all anxious to not miss out on seeing a potential megastar in the making up close and personal. Although she was only in Brighton for last year’s The Great Escape, so much has changed for Sigrid since then and with great hype comes even greater pressure. Thankfully then, she breezed through the night and won the hearts of all in the venue with a great selection of power pop anthems.
Following her band onto the stage through a cloud of dry ice and near darkness, the show began with ‘Go To War’ – its tribal drum beat matching its lyrics of meltdowns and passion. Sigrid was instantly engaging on stage, dancing and skipping in and out of the lights. With a bare minimum of stage production or theatricality, there was obviously a total disinterest in any of the more traditional cheesy pop tropes – tonight was all about Sigrid, and all about the tunes. And what tunes – ‘Plot Twist’ is top quality pop in its mocking takedown of a no-good ‘bro’, while ‘Schedules’ had a gentle tropical feel to it. Catchy latest single ‘Raw’ was fantastic, with its message of taking her as she comes rather than trying to change her. There was definitely a feeling of easing in gently at the beginning of the show, with a more laid-back style that continued until ‘Strangers’. Here, the tempo changed completely as the lights pulsed and strobed around the room during this banger of a track. Between that and the huge vocal performance to ‘I Don’t Buy It’, it was very much a case of Sigrid showing that she really has it all.
The most affecting moment during the night came with ‘Dynamite’, a song that she described as, “The saddest song that we’ve ever written”. This haunting track, describing a couple drifting apart to different destinations in life, was a real showstopper. It also highlighted the effectiveness of stripping back all of the (at times) extraneous backing band elements, being reduced to simple piano and voice and being all the better for it. From there, the coast was clear for a series of nailed-on pop gems that hit the mark every single time. Obviously having a ball, Sigrid’s infectious grin got wider and wider – pausing at one point to ask the security guards at the front how their night was going (“Living the dream” if you’re interested).
It was a consummate performance, all wrapped up of course with ‘Don’t Kill My Vibe’ – its message of female empowerment never more important than right now. The crowd, euphoric at a show that had delivered on all the hype and anticipation and then some, erupted into wide scale dancing and bouncing. A near-faultless night from someone destined to be very special indeed, when that debut album finally arrives it is going to be absolutely huge. Sigrid may just end up defining the pop sounds of the next few years, never mind just 2018.