Anne-Marie at The Olympia Theatre Dublin, 27th March 2018
Anne-Marie has been enjoying a busy schedule of sold-out shows across the UK, and tonight she brings her show across the Irish Sea to The Olympia Theatre in Dublin.
Mullally provides an outstanding support set, he oozes confidence and struts across the stage with true swagger, inviting the crowd to participate in a call and response sections during several songs. She Don’t Know Me is a highlight of the short set; it features an infectious reggaeton rhythm as well a mesmerising vocal hook. Mullally is a brilliant but risky support act, he certainly sets the watermark very high for the main attraction.
The stage undergoes a dramatic transformation for the headline act. The finished product is an unusual juxtaposition of old and new; white, futuristic boxes of varying shapes are dotted around the floor, as well as old-fashioned lamps and picture frames displaying photos of Anne-Marie. As the lights dim, fans are left waiting in anticipation as the three-piece band walk on stage and perform a lengthy, instrumental intro, before transitioning seamlessly into the first song.
Dressed appropriately in a green co-ordinated outfit, the 26-year old darts onto the stage to the lush soundscapes of Cry, a yet to be released song from her forthcoming debut album ‘Speak Your Mind’. Opening with a track that the audience haven’t heard before is a risk, but it works.
The most immediately striking factor about Anne-Marie is her voice; it is simultaneously husky and sweet and has proven to lend itself well to many of the pop hits that have dominated the charts over the past two years. She is capable of vocal acrobatics worthy of Jessie J while retaining the soulfulness of Adele, which has earned her collaborations with Clean Bandit, Snakeships and, most recently, Marshmello. It’s often a worry that artists will struggle to translate up-tempo, dance songs into a live setting but it turns out that there was no need to fret with Anne-Marie. Having originally been Rudimental’s resident vocalist on tour, she is well accustomed to performing up-beat tracks live and barely stops moving throughout the show.
Following two more unreleased tracks, the familiar, opening chords of Heavy are welcomed by the crowd with squeals of excitement. After her voice, the most striking thing about Anne-Marie is her performance style. She subjects the audience to an unremitting gaze during most songs and uses emotive hand gestures to act out the lyrics of the songs. Having attended a performing arts school and appeared in Les Miserables in the West End at the age of seven, it is unsurprising that she is such an charismatic and captivating performer. Her distinctive style renders it impossible to look anywhere but at her.
Given the amount of young girls in the audience, Perfect is a clever addition to the set. It is a humorous, satirical song about body imperfections with a serious undertone of loving oneself and refusing to fit into traditional beauty conforms. It is important that young girls are exposed to more songs of this calibre than those that promote female objectification and beauty for the sake of beholder.
Breathing Fire and Pull The Trigger are high points of the set, while Gemini from her 2015 EP feels like a speed-bump in a sequence of otherwise up-tempo tracks. Anne-Marie remains as up-beat as her tracks throughout the set, and provides back stories about most songs before launching into them. She slows down briefly to state her gratitude for this show being the first of her tour dates to sell out, claiming that Ireland is one of her favourite places to play – a recycled line that we, none the less, lap up each time.
Rather than feign a goodbye before her encore, Anne-Marie addresses the audience directly before performing Alarm, “So, I’m going to perform one more song. Then I’m going to walk off the stage, and then I’m going to come back and perform three more songs”. Despite explaining this, she receives a deafening applause when she walks back onto the stage moments later. Evidently saving the best until last, Then and Ciao Adios prove to be two of the best songs of the set. Then is a delicate yet powerful ballad that showcases her impressive vocal abilities, while Ciao Adios is a light-hearted break-up song about a cheating ex-boyfriend.
Anne-Marie’s show in The Olympia proved that she is not only an artist, she is a storyteller. She is one of the few, current pop stars that has the ability to make her audience truly believe that she means every word that she sings. Judging by this quality of this show, it was one of the last times Anne-Marie will play a theatre.