Last Sunday night, Amelia Brookes joined a group of devoted fans, many of them in Gracie’s merch, at The Level, a venue supported by Nottingham Trent University, to watch Gracie Abrams give an exclusive acoustic performance promoting her new album. Here are her thoughts.
‘Good Riddance’ comes out February 24th, and has been heavily anticipated by fans, some theorising that it carries on both sonically and lyrically from her previous EPs, ‘Minor’ and ‘This Is What It Feels Like’. Many songs from these EPs were performed on the night. This was after everyone had trundled in and stood together under the blue lights, with bows in their hair and leaning on their friends’ shoulders. The friend that I went with had taken the front row, and their focus was rapt on the stage. When Gracie walked in there was a shock wave of sound, and I was taken aback by the sheer amount of support.
The first thing that I noticed was that it was only her and the guitar that she was holding; she mentioned afterwards that sometimes it was difficult to tune it. The vibe was unpretentious, not so bold and flashy, more the ambience of a garden decorated with fairy-lights in the half dark. She talked to us like we were her friends, which I could tell fans loved. It matched with the style of her songwriting – a delicate, confessional glimpse into a life wrought with the kind of relationships that are neither easy nor perfect, but whole.
A feature of music for a new generation
She also covers mental health struggles and fears, topics that have become increasingly popular with both young fans and young songwriters – a feature of music for a new generation. The personal nature of this concert was exemplified by fans asking Gracie questions as she took breaks inbetween her songs. One questioner asked her about her emotions towards opening for Taylor Swift for her Eras Tour in the USA this spring, which she’s looking forward to. Every once in a while, the air was punctuated with, “I love you, Gracie!!”
This attention may have been a tad overwhelming, but this never affected the quality of the performance; which shone from the starting song, Where Do We Go Now (a single from her new album) to the soft, ethereal Feels Like, to the strains of 21, the whispered tones of Rockland, and the screamed chorus of I Miss You, I’m Sorry – the concluding song.
A form of emotional catharsis
Live, she was just as vocally impressive as she is on her records, even joking later in the concert that she would never lip-sync in front of a live audience. It was the crowd, however, that took her songs to the next level. The sing-along nature of it, as a form of emotional catharsis, had fans crying and holding each other, me belting the words (sorry to the woman in front of me), and Gracie smiling as she skipped portions of the song to allow the audience to continue the melody.
Nottingham loves Gracie Abrams, and that was evident, but in her own words, ‘Where Do We Go Now?’ Gracie has recently announced her Good Riddance tour at selected locations across the US, UK and Canada, and I have no doubt that when the album is out, more listeners will tune in to support the singer. I myself will be waiting patiently, but for now, this concert was enough to convince me that this could be one of the landmarks of a starry and promising career.
Featured image courtesy of Alex Watkin. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.
In-article images courtesy of @gracieabrams via @instagram.com. No changes were made to these images.
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