With her long-sleeved fringed black crop top, zip-up leggings and DM-style black boots Anne Marie looks like she’s on her way out clubbing. It’s a relaxed look on stage and to add to the atmos a couple of fringed light shades, a throw cushion and some large photographs are strategically placed (with a haphazard look) on the stage to recreate that familiarity and friendliness that Anne Marie oozes. But there’s no denying from her high octane roundhouse karate kicks – looking every inch the international karate champion she was – to her double punches and powerful lyrics about ‘breathing fire’ Anne Marie is fearless and sending out the right message to all those impressionables who are caught up in her melodic chants.
Singers like Ellie Goulding and Demi Lovato, Dua Lupa and Jessie J – whom she shared a stage with at the tender age of 12 years old in the London West End production of Whistle Down the Wind – have this no nonsense approach to them that teenage and twenty-something girls are tapping into for all the right reasons.
The O2 Academy is a perfect venue for the nasally sounding singer to belt out her rhythmic hits about bad relationships and lousy boyfriends to her loyal (this is put to the test later in the gig) fans.
“…I went out to the studio one day and wrote about all the insecurities about myself. I’m a bit of a weirdo….”
She sings, “I’m not a supermodel from a magazine, no, I’m okay with not being perfect cos that’s perfect to me….” It’s a great message. Her look may not be polished (thank god) but Anne Marie sings perfectly, is perfectly confident and I’m sure there are ups and downs in her life but she oozes being perfectly real and that’s the beauty of her persona.
All the hits (more than I realised) Alarm, Rockabye, Used to Love You, Ciao Adios, Breathing Fire and Trigger are belted out. “…There are so many things going on in the world and this songs about that…” If the obvious message in Trigger is tighter gun control in American it got through with the chorus that Anne Marie had asked her eager fans to sing along to, “That won’t fix it any quicker, we don’t have to pull the trigger…”
The chorus appeared to roar in thunderous rapture that felt like it shook the deco-interior o2 building and hopefully travels further than her tour venues’ walls when she does the next leg of her European tour to get the message out.
She acknowledges to the fans, “You know, I write a lot of songs about bad ex-boyfriends. Today I’m going to sing about being a bad girlfriend…” and adds “..though I’ve never been a bad girlfriend…”Phew, don’t do that to me Anne Marie. The halo nearly slanted for a second there.
And of course Rockabye, “…I want to dedicate this song to all the single mums and dads. You are the best!” I’m sure all the married parents who went along with their teenage kids sang along gleefully too.
It was the last night of the UK tour for Anne Marie and she tested her loyal fans (thought I’d forgotten did you?) by playing a couple of songs from her first EP released in 2015. “How many of you have been there from the start?” she quizzed her fans. Hundreds eagerly shot up their hands screaming out. “I’m gonna test you on that….” she laughed.
The next two songs sang were from the EP and it was a test that half the class may have failed but the whole venue looked like it was going to make a convincing effort of catching up with the chorus in a display of willingness to please their idol.
Yes, the fans aren’t perfect but that’s why there was a mutual love felt at the o2 last night.
review by Susie Daniels
Anne Marie will next gig with Ed Sheeran at Hampden Park National Stadium from June 1-3rd.