By James Magee, First Year, Politics and Spanish
Epigram reviews upcoming star Mimi Webb's short but sweet show at the Trinity Centre.
It's clear that Mimi Webb is having a great moment right now. As Britain's answer to Olivia Rodrigo, there aren’t many whose stardom has risen as fast as hers. Releasing her debut single in the midst of the pandemic, Webb made her first TV appearance on 'The Ellen Show' barely a year later and by Christmas found herself performing to 16,000 at Capital FM's 'Jingle Bell Ball'.
On Sunday night, she made the penultimate stop on her UK tour to Trinity, Bristol's community arts centre. Although advertised as a more intimate gig, the crowd of around 500 were more than alive on the night. Fired up by Millie Turner's half-hour set, the atmosphere was buzzing when Webb came out, raring to go.
She jumped straight in with one of her biggest hits to date, '24/5'. The crowd, caught up in the ecstasy of the moment probably failed to notice the 21-year-old's reliance on the backing track during the opener, however. This for me seemed to undermine her incredible vocal range; the main thing that draws so many to her music in the first place. The reason behind the dependence on the backing is unclear, yet it allowed Webb to channel more energy into engaging with the audience. In doing so she commanded the stage like a performer well beyond her limited years of experience.
Mimi Webb thankfully made up for the lack of live vocals on the following tracks, taken from her debut EP, Seven Shades of Heartbreak, released last October. You might have expected the atmosphere to have dialled down a notch as she rolled out her lesser-known songs, but the audience continued blaring out the lyrics back to her. This is a testament to the loyalty of her young, largely female fanbase; much like her US counterpart Rodrigo, the Gravesend-born singer's heartbreak-inspired lyrics resonate with those in Gen-Z who know what it’s like to be 'young, dumb and in love' in the 21st century.
It was this core audience's vivacity that would have made the gig so special to Webb, prompting her to declare them the best crowd she's played to so far in her career. Moreover, the mutual affection was palpable in the room; both the artist and the venue staff expressed a genuine care for the wellbeing of the young people in the audience. In between tracks, during which teenagers belted out the words in fits of excitement, stewards handed out water to ensure they didn’t become too dehydrated.
The show was over in a flash and did feel especially short, though Webb performed her entire back catalogue of 11 songs, plus a cover of The Kid LAROI and Justin Bieber's 'STAY'. Maybe it felt too short because the quality of her performance made it easy to forget she's only been touring for 5 months and is yet to drop her first album.
Her encore offered a snapshot of this fledgling popstar's journey so far, performing 'Good Without', her breakthrough hit which went viral on 'TikTok' and made her name recognisable across the globe – and latest single 'House On Fire', which entered the UK Singles Chart at number six last week and is expected to continue rising. These tracks epitomise the rollercoaster she's been on in the last year and with her tour of the US starting in two weeks, she doesn't show signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Featured image: James Magee
Have you heard 'Good Without'?