Beabadoobee review – teen star flies the flag for fuzzy 90s indie

Sugarmill, Stoke-on-Trent
With joy and candour, the 19-year-old songwriter brings the charms of grungy 90s indie to a new generation

‘I wish I was Stephen Malkmus,” sings Bea Kristi AKA Beabadoobee, referring to the 53-year-old singer-songwriter of US indie outfit, Pavement. The 19-year-old is paying homage to the fuzzy indie rock that inspired her; 90s acts such as Pavement, Sonic Youth and Mazzy Star aren’t obvious bands for a teenage girl to listen to in 2019, although by reacting against what her label calls “music that’s been styled to death”, the Filipina Londoner is making an impact. A YouTube video of her song Coffee notched up 300,000 views and has led to a deal with the 1975/Wolf Alice label Dirty Hit, a Brits rising star award nomination and millions of streams.

None of which has, admittedly, entirely translated to a chilly night in Stoke, where a respectable, very vocal contingent of mostly teenage girls have come to cheer her on. Kristi is headlining a Dirty Hit bill that also includes bedroom star Oscar Lang and 1975 collaborator No Rome and she exudes unfettered, candid charm. “I need a pee so bad,” she admits.

The audience clearly identify with the pure-voiced singer’s everyday persona and songs that dreamily address teenage concerns, from love travails to “feeling shit”. Space Cadet twangs like vintage Belly and Coffee sees fans singing every word (“I’ll make a cup of coffee with the right amount of sugar/How you like it”). She Plays Bass – a eulogy to women musicians that Kristi performs alongside a female bass guitarist – is a particular zinger.

Her sound isn’t exactly original and some 90s indie veterans will probably complain that they’ve heard all this before. Still, for a generation for whom fuzzy, grungy indie rock is a new, joyous experience, Beabadoobee is a shining, guiding star.


Dave Simpson

The GuardianTramp

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