The trio draw a huge crowd to the mainstage for a set that balances the old and the new
“We’ve been doing this since we were eleven and twelve years old,” Keisha Buchanan tells the crowd at Warrington’s Victoria Park. There is immediate conversation – have they really? Buchanan, Siobhán Donaghy and Mutya Buena may have been just a tad older than that when the Sugababes were officially formed in 1998, but they were still babies by anyone’s standards. They really have been up there their whole lives. It may be surprising to hear, but watching them live, it’s very easy to believe.
Twenty-five years later, the Sugababes still have the gloss and poise of a 2000s girl group. It’s something that makes them a bit of a novelty as a live act in 2023 – western pop hasn’t embraced the girl group lately so much as it has individual pop stars with vulnerable, hyper-personal lyrics. But the tight harmonies and sharp choreography of the Sugababes reminds us why 2000s era pop was so much fun, and why so many modern acts find themselves returning to it for inspiration. With all these new voices in pop trying to direct us to the intimate and messy details of their own lives, the Sugababes offer something clean and polished. It’s escapism, and the trio embraces it.
@ticketmasteruk The Neighbourhood Weekender mainstage is packed for the Sugababes! 📣 #thesugababes #neighbourhoodweekender #pushthebutton ♬ original sound – Ticketmaster UK
So does their audience. The field in front of the main stage is packed and everyone knows the words, from those who learnt them the first time around to the teenagers at their first festival. ‘Push The Button’ has everyone clamouring to be lifted onto someone’s shoulders. ‘Round Round’ produces a sea of arms rotating over heads, helicopter style. Mixed in with old favourites, the band’s newer material proves that they aren’t afraid to update their formula for the 2020s. Impressive to watch, endearing as they accidently shout out their upcoming shows twice, infectious in their enjoyment of it all – the Sugababes are just as perfect a pop act as they ever were.