Belgrave seemed overly dark this Friday evening as Dilettante stepped on stage to shine a smoke-filled light on the room’s blank canvas with their hazy saxophone loops and scatty vocals, pulling the audience into a dreamscape which would be home in both a slow-mo flapper dance sequence and in the soundtrack of the 1999 classic Cruel Intentions.
The world was illuminated when Rebecca Taylor, Self Esteem, and her band of musical dancers took the stage. Since leaving Slow Club Taylor has taken her percussion roots and has baptised herself in the eternal fire unapologetic confidence, heartbreak and foot tapping beats with an added hint of Beyoncé. Thus, leaving behind this tribal pop only emphasised by the hypnotising chorography morphing heartbreak into an all-consuming performance of ritualised femininity.
It’s not easy listening pop, don’t be fooled by the genre categorisation. This pop is complex, with the witty innuendo spluttered lyrical synchronism contrasting with underlaid aspects of funk, close harmonies and Taylor’s dark vocals. ‘Steady I Stand’ for example is a journey of growth relying purely on vocals rather than an explosive drum and guitar section, and the perfect accompaniment to hair flying in the golden locks flying in Belgrave’s air system.
Engaging to the last minute, the band absorbed themselves in the audience for an unbroken song circle of the ironically named ‘I’m Shy’. Radiating from the centre, the four singers arched their back to spread the soundwaves of the pessimistic manta of self esteem to touch even the most guarded of hearts before returning to each other’s arms in a bear hug fused with the tears and alleviated stress only provided by this the last day of the tour.
Self Esteem is refreshing. Taylor takes no prisoners in her lyrics. She reconquers the dance routine only afforded to big stars and owns it. Simply put, Taylor and her magnificent band are the Bratz movie circa 2007 for a new feminist demographic, and really what else could you ever want?