Long before Gracie Abrams takes to the stage, the devotion of her fans is evident, as queues sprawl from all entrances to London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire – with the majority donning Abram’s signature white ribbon bow in their hair. Towards the start of this year, the 24-year-old songwriter received praise for the candid storytelling and emotional vulnerability of her debut album ‘Good Riddance’, and these factors are also placed at the front and centre of her performance.

Bereft of any elaborate backdrops, choreography or outfit changes, Abrams instead opts for a more stripped-back approach for her ‘Good Riddance’ live shows. Instead, she lets her ambient lighting and powerful vocals carry the heavy-lifting for the entirety of a 19-song set this evening (October 3).

“My favourite thing is being in the same room as you, so thank you for making us feel so at home already,” she tells the crowd after a soaring ‘I Should Hate You’, introducing the members of her three-piece backing band and sharing how she first “fell in love” with this particular venue back in 2019. “Thanks for caring about the album… and thank you for caring about the music that came before the album,” she adds, before resuming with her vocal, guitar and piano duties.

Gracie abrams
Credit: Abby Waisler

There’s a glowing sense of respect for the fans gathered here tonight, who form the core of Abrams’ live show. She delivers the first-ever live performance of the unreleased ‘In Between’, while bringing every ounce of energy she can for the crowd. Working through the gently powerful ‘Camden’ and ‘Minor’, she wraps herself in the Pride flags they throw on stage, and borrows a fan’s phone to film herself singing along to ‘Difficult’.

The aspect of Abrams’ set that truly resonates, however, is something a lot harder to pinpoint at first glance. She has the ability to balance a pared-back set to impress newer fans, while remaining lively and personable enough to connect even deeper with her longest-standing supporters.

Gracie Abrams played:

‘Where Do We Go Now?’
‘This Is What The Drugs Are For’
‘Block Me Out’
‘I Should Hate You’
‘I Know It Won’t Work’
‘Full Machine’
‘Rockland / Will You Cry?’
‘Fault Line’
‘Feels Like’
‘In Between’ (Live debut)
‘I Miss You, I’m Sorry’
‘Right Now’

The post Gracie Abrams live in London: candid storytelling laced with joy and self-reflection appeared first on NME.


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