Home > Reviews > Live Reviews > 02/03/2023 | Self Esteem – O2 Institute, Birmingham

02/03/2023 | Self Esteem – O2 Institute, Birmingham

Carrie Humphries


Following an incredible year that has seen Rebecca Lucy Taylor, aka Self Esteem being nominated for Mercury and Brit awards, perform at Glastonbury and even appear on Jools Holland’s Hootenanny, it is perhaps only right that her latest tour feels somewhat victorious.

Taking to the stage for the Birmingham leg of her I Tour This All The Time tour, she was greeted excitedly like an old friend by the largely female audience and quickly launched into set opener Prioritise Pleasure accompanied by a talented drummer, synth player and three singer-dancers. From the opening moment, there was a sense of euphoria all around as Rebecca’s lyrics were sung back to her from the audience, like anthemic battle cries taking hold all around.

The first few songs of the set; Fucking Wizardry, Moody and Just Kids were unsurprisingly well received, as they are all from latest album, Prioritise Pleasure. However, things were switched up even further after a quick costume change and crimson stage lighting as Self Esteem showcased two equally brilliant new tracks, Mother and Love Second. Both were well received, and Mother already looks set to be equally as anthemic as the likes of I Do This All The Time and Fucking Wizardry, with the scolding lyrics “I am not your mother and nor should you want me to be.”

It was a rather theatrical show as Self Esteem and her backing singers performed Madonna-esque dance routines throughout with hints of in-your-face 90s girl power at times, but some of the most striking moments in the set actually came during the moments of tranquillity, as this is when her vocals and lyrics really shone through. This was particularly beautiful during her track John Elton, where the show was stripped back to just the simplicity of Rebecca playing the guitar and singing.

Following years of Covid-related isolation and repeated disappointment in the state of the world, I think that many fans are now looking for candid viewpoints from music that they can genuinely relate to, and Self Esteem offers this in abundance. Throughout the show she effortlessly threw a light on difficult subjects such as sexual assault, autonomy and self-doubt, yet did it in a way that is far from the darkside. Self Esteem is a champion of imperfect perfection, dealing with life’s darkest issues with her own witty and uplifting charm, just like that supportive friend who is there for you in your moment of need.


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