LIVE REVIEW – SELF ESTEEM LIVE IN SOUTHAMPTON 16/11/21
Nearly three years ago I checked out Self Esteem’s (AKA Rebecca Lucy Taylor) first UK tour. That night, Southampton’s Joiners Arms may only had a crowd of 50. Taylorwas still finding a new fan base to match her change of direction away from the indie – folk sound of Slow Club.
Tonight was a sold-out affair. The Joiners crowd was again a strange mix of middle-aged men in shirts/jumpers clinging onto pints for comfort, rubbing shoulders with a younger posse of females struggling to find the room to declare their devotion. We had just been treated to some outstanding show support from Soft Lad (Sophie Galpin) and Human Interest; so, one would have hoped that when Taylor hit the stage that the place would have erupted. Sadly, this element was missing from the night and Taylor didn’t find it hard to show her disappointment after performing an electric version of ‘I’m Fine’. She had to remind us to “prioritise pleasure even on a Tuesday, before letting us know this was her “25th anniversary of first Joiners show – well it feels like it”.
Throughout the next hour Taylor would perform the majority of her critically acclaimed second album ‘Prioritise Pleasure’ with a few old favourites like ‘Girl Crush’ and ‘In Time’ mixed in. Backed by the supremely talented dancers/vocalists Marged Sion and Levi Heaton, Mike Park on drums and the before mentioned Galpin on bass and keys, we are treated by big pop anthems with a hint of modern R&B, and dance routines (a rarity for the Joiners).
Taylor let us into the horrors of her social media in which her fans proclaim that her bandmates are hotter than her, humorously proclaiming “everyone knows that Mike is the fittest!”. These mid song chats are all part of why we keep coming back. This isn’t an artist who just goes through the motions, she wears her heart on her sleeve and isn’t bashful to let us know about her recent promotional tour to send ‘Prioritise Pleasure’ into the top ten that was sadly thwarted by the sickness that led to her canceling two dates and charting at 11. Its Ok, Self Esteem is fine with being outside the top ten – it’s very much on brand according to the singer.
By the time Taylor ends ‘I do it all the time’ even the old creepy guy in the front row taking close up shots of the dancers had put down his camera to dance. The band pretended to leave the stage before pivoting for an encore including a stripped down ‘John Elton’ (he has still not been in touch apparently) and ending with one of the finest tracks of her debut ‘The Best’. This is quite possibly the last time Self Esteem will play a venue the size of The Joiners, this is an act who are ready for a larger stage and hopefully soon have an audience to compliment.