The singer songwriter gave a joyous performance to a crowd that matched her energy – and even sang a little Taylor
Just a few short years ago, Maisie Peters was playing through almost her entire discography in order to fill a setlist. At the Eventim Apollo, she plays a mashup of four songs she just couldn’t squeeze in any other way – each one greeted with cheers and sung loudly, lyric for lyric, by the entire crowd. At the end of it, she adds a little of Taylor Swift’s ‘Dear John’, a non-single from the singer’s third album Speak Now. They know every word of that, too.
Peters knows her audience. It’s that, along with a sharply honed ear for infectious pop, that’s carried her here, all the way to one of London’s biggest stages, ahead of the release of her second studio album. Ed Sheeran’s protégé and warm-up act for the vast majority of his stadium shows, she refers to him on social media intermittently as her boss and a local indie artist (and frequently misspells his name). Her songs are full of punchlines, hyperbole, and lyrics designed for her and the crowd to scream at each other. “Nothing more frightening than a woman scorned, and a box of bleach,” opens ‘Blonde’. “5’1, do you think that I’ll grow anymore?” she asks the audience in ‘You Signed Up For This’. “No!” they shout back.
Peters has spent the last few years growing into her presence as a performer, and she’s now an energetic force onstage, having such a good time herself that it would take a particularly miserable Scrooge to resist her. She shout-sings entire bridges (‘I’m Trying’) and acts out lyrics with full commitment – “How do you think I’m dealing?” she asks in ‘Villain’, gesticulating, with a sigh. It all hits the sweet spot that appeals so well to her Gen Z audience: a combination of total sincerity and winking into the camera.
The set’s most gloriously camp moment arrives when Peters invites her support act onstage for a duet. This is Canadian pop act Cate, a singer songwriter with sunny stage presence and powerful vocals who charms the audience in her short opening set. She’s a part of Maisie Peters lore – or rather, her brother is. The two transform ‘Cate’s Brother’ – a work of tongue-in-cheek indie pop that serves as Peters’ answer to ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ – almost into musical theatre, with the second verse rewritten as a backstage conversation between them, set to a dance that they almost definitely made up in Peters’ dressing room. The song culminates with Cate donning a navy cap to play her own brother. It’s ridiculous, endearing, and exactly the kind of reluctance to take it all too seriously that has earned Peters such a dedicated following.
“I think we’ll still be doing this in fifty years’ time, so I guess we’ll all see you on that tour,” Peters tells the crowd. Here’s hoping.
Photo credit: Sophie Scott