A compelling performance…

Gracie Abrams and supporting act Alix Page graced the stage of the Wardrobe in Leeds this past Monday. The 22-year-old California native finished the North American leg of the This Is What It Feels Like tour in March, a tour that received acclaim for its rare intimacy. Considering Abrams’ devoted UK fanbase, the show was heavily anticipated across the pond.

The Wardrobe in Leeds is made for gigs like this due to its intimate setting. Upon arriving, we are struck by the calm and tranquil energy that radiates through the venue, despite it being at capacity.

The subtle chit-chat and buzz are halted by applause when 20-year-old Alix Page arrives on stage. Standing alone with just an acoustic guitar, Page charms the audience with delicate songs taken from her January released EP ‘Old News’ alongside 2020 lullaby ‘Stripes’.

Following a performance of her popular single ‘Radiohead’, Page tells the audience of nearly 400; “now that I have played a song called Radiohead, I have to do a Radiohead cover”. Her stripped back take on Radiohead’s “No Surprises” is stunningly beautiful and testament to her artistry.  

A short wait after, the lights dim and Abrams appears, opening with ‘Feels Like’. The perfect opener considering its gentle yet contagious energy, an energy exhibited in the performer. Her angelic vocal is echoed throughout and met by her fans, who know every lyric.

Throughout the set, it’s hard to not be moved not only by the gentle and tender emotion evoked in the music, but by Abrams’s efforts to make genuine connections with fans, a connection Abrams mentions as being one she’s missed due to the halt Covid put on live music.

There are countless amounts of waves out to fans to all corners of the venue, reaches out to touch those lucky enough to be at the front and even efforts to collect phones so to film the show from her perspective. It’s as though she feels an overwhelming need to connect with every person in the room.

Half-way through the show, Abrams admits she’s feeling homesick, but confesses that the Leeds crowd has aided in alleviating this feeling, which leads her into the first verse of ‘Block Me Out’.

As the gig draws to a close, the distinct synth that opens “I miss you, I’m sorry” is met by a roar from the crowd and a palpable feeling of emotion is swept over the venue. Abrams seems almost emotional as she looks out at the audience, all of which are compelled and in awe of the young woman afore them.

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Words: Isabella Miller

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