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Live review: Sigrid @ Manchester Academy, 24/03/18

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At only twenty-one years old, Norwegian pop princess Sigrid has already won BBC's Sound of 2018 and sold out her entire UK tour.

As the crowd filtered in to Manchester's university venue, it was almost impossible to ignore the wide range of ages. Girls as young as six riding in on their dad's shoulders, groups of excitable teens gathered by the barrier, the cool dads leaning against the back walls with their plastic pints, and seventy-year-old fans mingling in the middle of the pit.

Strolling casually onto stage beaming and giving a wave to the screaming crowd, Sigrid opens with 'Go To War', an unreleased track that super-fans will know as a long established opening song for her, but is unknown to most.

She jumps about the stage with the same energy as a puppy, having been held at the back door before being released into its element. It’s clear to see already, as she bounces through just the first song, that the stage is her element and where she feels most home. Her stage set up is simply three coloured boards at the back, with her band on low wooden platforms, channelling that Scandi minimalism we know and love. But nothing is minimal about the way in which Sigrid performs.

‘Schedules’ is a new track of poppy synths and quick drops, and although the crowd hung on her every word and swayed their hips around the beat, it was clear to see they were hungry to be able to sing along.

Finally, she plunges into ‘Plot Twist’, the second track from her Don’t Kill My Vibe EP, and the room erupts. “Shots fired!” both Sigrid and the crowd shout before she throws everything into the chorus - and as do her adoring fans. For the majority of ‘Plot Twist’, the singer raises her middle fingers and turns her microphone to the audience, beckoning for them to sing louder. 

She scrunches her eyes as if to stop the tears from running so early into the set as the crowd scream back every word, dance with each other, hug their friends, raise their pints to the ceiling. As if the age range of the crowd didn’t already suggest that there’s something special about Sigrid being able to bring fans together, this did.

The next four songs on the setlist are all new, three of them unreleased. With only one EP and two singles officially out in the world, it is obvious that she’d need to fill out her set with exciting new tracks, giving fans a taste of what’s to come. ‘Savage in My Blood’ is particularly special, as she uses a strong yet delicate falsetto to glide through the soaring ballad.

However, she speeds through the newbies as if the fans would know them: she doesn’t introduce them by name or give a release date, nor does she teach a chorus or repetition for fans to help out with. It leaves an awkward toe-tapping and nodding in the audience, with a few performing quick refreshes of social media as the urge to sing along again rises.

The room explodes through ‘Fake Friends’, that urge satisfied just for one song. Sigrid points her microphone at a group of fans at the front who scream “don’t need no fake friends, might as well shut down” over the venue’s sound system. It’s another track she barely herself sings as her dedicated following almost overpower her. It's one of her best songs of the night, not only going by the energy in the room but the way that she hits every single note perfectly and struts about the stage with a shining confidence about her.

Speeding through a few more unreleased tracks, with only ‘Dynamite’ (from her EP, and which Sigrid introduces as the “sad part of the set”) breaking them up, she bounces into ‘Strangers’ - one of her most successful tracks to date. Even those who aren’t fans of Sigrid would be able to sing along with this one as it’s taken over the radio, television and playlists the world over these last few months.

She jumps and skips around the stage, completely owning it and at this point is back to holding the crowd in her palms. 

The opening bar to ‘Don’t Kill My Vibe’ ignites a fire within the audience, who gear up to completely tear the roof down in the last track of the night. Of course, the energy in the crowd is incredible and, as she smiles widely and thanks everyone for coming, Sigrid’s vibe certainly isn’t killed. And even though everyone left on a high, it's a shame that long stretches of new songs with no introduction slightly dampened ours.

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