Cork’s Biig Piig concluded her ‘Bubblegum’ tour in support of her debut mixtape of the same name in style in The Academy, Dublin, last week with an energetic performance that proved why she is Ireland’s best popstar right now.
Bounding on stage to the opening strains of the floaty bass-led hit ‘This Is What They Meant’, Biig Piig, aka Jess Smyth, is instantly captivating. She oozes stage presence throughout the 17-song set that harks back as far as 2018 for her breakthrough hit ‘Perdida’, which showcases Smyth’s bilingual pop credentials as she dips in and out of Spanish, and again on ‘Shh’ and ‘Ghosting’ later in the show.
2020’s equally floaty ‘Don’t Turn Around’ is an early highlight, while ‘Sunny’ provides Biig Piig with the opportunity to test out the outer extremities of The Academy stage. Smyth’s live band, a trio of drums, bass and guitar, excel as they jump through the varied styles of her back catalogue and when bassist Dan steps forward for a saxophone solo during ‘Roses and Gold’, he doesn’t shirk his moment to shine.
The Radiohead-esque drum shuffle of ‘Liahr’ has added spice live. ‘Oh No’ and ‘In The Dark’ ramp things up further until the show reaches fever pitch with a full-throated performance of ‘405’, her ’80s tinged collaboration with Metronomy. The ease with which Biig Piig changes styles is quite impressive. ‘American Beauty’ highlights her rock credentials before ‘Picking Up’, her collab with Deb Never, further showcases her ability to make people dance.
The closing trio of ‘Switch’, ‘Fun’ and ‘Feels Right’ are a masterclass in modern pop. The fact that the former and latter were not even nominated for the Choice Music Prize Song of the Year 2020 is simply one of the most egregious decisions in the history of the competition.
Dancefloor delight ‘Kerosene’ brings proceedings to a pulsating conclusion. If you’re looking for a playbook on how to become a modern popstar, look no further than Biig Piig because she leaves everybody in Ireland in her wake and she’s only getting started.