Live reviews


Kim Petras at Birmingham O2 Academy, 13/02/2024 

Kim Petras' personal Eras tour solidifies the popstar as far more than just ‘Unholy’

The last time Kim Petras was in Birmingham was way back in February 2020. Crammed into the second room of Birmingham’s O2 Academy on a stage that sees acts vaulted far too high to the ceiling, the room was always too small for Petras’ intent to perform – and her platform-booted hair-whipping, spinning on a revolving podium, tested the space to its limits. A month later, and the world embarked on its first pandemic lockdown, curbing her hard-earned momentum. How times have changed. 

In 2024, queues for Kim Petras snake back through the city streets; Brummies getting a drive-by glance of fans dressed for the occasion: proto-Paris Hiltons reinforce that Simple Life-chic is now a mainstream resurrection (but at least the hair extensions are better), crop tops and Ugg boots, PVC and double denim. It’s a Y2K fashion show – whether those on the catwalk were alive for the first hurrah or not.  

This intergenerational blurring of Millennials and Gen Z belies Petras’ nostalgic appeal, a fact most apparent when support DJ Alex Chapman drops Vengaboys’ ‘Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom!!’ and Sophie Ellis Bextor’s ‘Murder On The Dancefloor’ back-to-back, for only the latter to make the crowd explode – an after-taste of Saltburn’s virality.

While Chapman’s own megamix proved he was incapable of beat-matching, Georgia’s delectable dance saw her win over the crowd, despite poor sound. Performing a clutch of songs from her third album Euphoric, she threw herself between the front row and her drum kit with admirable gusto. 

Four years on and it feels unfathomable that Petras was ever anything but a main event. Having graduated to the main room following her GRAMMY-winning feature on Sam Smith’s ‘Unholy’, the venue is heaving. Whereas her aforementioned trip to Birmingham suffered from a haphazard setlist, tonight’s proceedings have a clear four act structure – her own personal Eras tour. Opening with ‘Feed The Beast’, the title track from last year’s album, Petras plays into mediaeval imagery, combatting Church oppression and original sin with battle-bound flags and the swipe of a sword; ‘Revelations’ and ‘King Of Hearts’ sound especially defiant. 

A guillotine flashes and Petras’ decapitated head is brandished before Slut Pop arrives by way of Windows XP and provocative floppy disk files, Petras returning dressed as a schoolgirl á la Britney Spears. The tongue-in-cheek EP has gathered a cult following with its sex-postive electro-house anthems, the well-oiled ‘Head Head Honcho’ and ‘Gag On It’ are given their live debut before new mixtape Slut Pop Miami drops just in time for Valentine’s Day. A flash and Petras returns, switching bikini sweat for poised Parisian glam for Problematique; last year’s surprise album leans further into house music, evoking frivolous French luxe with ‘Je T’adore’ and ‘Deeper’ as both she and her dancers strike poses against a cigarette-shaped barre. 

The closing segment however, really is a swansong for diehard fans, as Petras rips through early singles ‘I Don’t Want It At All’, ‘Hillside Boys’, and ‘Heart To Break’. Glittering like a disco ball and benefitting from less choreography, it’s here that her voice is really given the chance to shine as she belts out the chorus of ‘Can’t Do Better’, proving she is more than a tease and a wink. Yet, eternally unabashed, Petras’ cult of ‘bunheads’ likes it best when she plays with them, which she happily obliges with the boob-jiggling anthem ‘Coconuts’; there is something beautifully validating in a room of queer fans shouting every word back to a trans-woman. From genre-blending vision to boundary pushing execution, Petras is proving to be a new era of pop star. 

Kim Petras plays Manchester on 16 February and London on 19 February. Find tickets here.

Photo credits: Katja Ogrin/Redferns