Self Esteem @ Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh, 27 Nov
Slow Club's Rebecca Taylor proves she is made for pop music under her new guise, Self Esteem, dance moves and all.
In a year where All Saints have released new music and are about to tour, Robyn released her first album in eight years – the astounding Honey – and the Spice Girls announced a 2019 stadium tour, there’s a new pop star in town and she’s called Self Esteem.
Rebecca Taylor steps on-stage and makes her way to the rear right-hand corner, tucking herself behind a backing singer, with her back to the audience. The show’s about to start and there’s a quiet anticipation in the room for what’s to come from the Slow Club singer and multi-intrumentalist’s new solo project.
Jumping straight into latest single Rollout, Taylor is instantly engaging. She's dressed from head to toe in red, bar a pair of chunky white trainers and a shock of platinum blonde hair; her T-shirt bears the slogan ‘squirt isn’t pee’. Backed by live drums, and flanked by two backing singers, dressed all in black – whose T-shirts replicate the same feminist message as Taylor’s – they effortlessly float through the setlist, complete with life-affirming dance routines for all ten songs played.
Halfway through the set, Taylor ribs us for being too polite an audience, explaining that she experienced the same thing the night before in Glasgow, which is not what she’s used to in Scotland. The busy Tuesday night crowd loosens up a bit after this and collectively bob along to, not-yet-released but instant pop gems, Rooms and Girl Crush, letting out cheers of approval at the end of every song.
On She Reigns, the room falls to a deafening silence, all eyes and ears on Taylor as the true extent of her vocal ability becomes clear. With stunning accompaniment from her backing singers and only finger snaps to keep the beat, the three create eye-dampening harmonies in a moment that stands out as a real highlight amid an otherwise upbeat poptastic set, which we can only imagine is what it must’ve felt like seeing Sugababes when they were starting out. Tonight's set is seriously thrilling.
‘I did the best that I could,’ Taylor sings on main set closer The Best before returning, centre stage, for an encore of Favourite Problem. Between the two, she pleads with us to buy T-shirts, which read ‘nobody’s art show is worth bumping into you for’, from the merch stall that she thought were a good idea, laughing that she wants to prove her manager wrong.
Following this, she tells us her debut album is coming in March, which she states as another example of proving people wrong. We’re not sure who she’s referring to here, but if there’s one thing Rebecca Taylor has proved tonight, it's that she’s made for pop; everyone needs a little bit of positive self esteem in their life.