Toronto-based alt-pop singer renforshort took to London last night, as part of her UK/EU tour at O2 Academy Islington. To put it simply, Lauren Isenberg and her accompanying band put on a show of pure vibrancy and thrilling energy.
The dear amelia tour came in promotion of renforshort’s debut album ‘dear amelia,’ released earlier this summer. This impressively featured special guest’s Jake Bugg and Travis Barker. The project encompasses a diverse selection of vulnerable, youth-directed songs. They centre around love, loss, and themes close to her heart as a young adult. With her fondness for love letters, renforshort has a rare ability to mix adolescent, young love-type themes with a particular level of maturity in her vocals and precision in the crafting of her music. ‘dear amelia‘ has received critical acclaim and support from her growing fanbase, proving that she is a rising star.
The night kicks off with support from the smooth, soulful sound of Valencia Grace. The up-and-coming artist from Dorset, who has gained recognition on TikTok worked the stage as if it were her own headline show. She displayed such confidence and delight. Valencia’s Amy Winehouse-esque vocals, rich in soulful, deep tones left the audience in awe. She sang with the kind of voice you’d never expect to come out of someone so young. With just her and the guitarist on stage, her performance was unembellished yet still ferociously powerful. Her slot included tracks like ‘What A Shame‘, ‘Goodbye‘, and ‘There I Said It‘ as well as some new unreleased music. The soul-baring lyrics and stage presence meant that she will definitely have some new fans after last night’s show.
Lauren enters the stage beaming from ear to ear to the sound of a distorted voice message. Following this she transitions into her first song of the night, ‘i miss myself.’ As the first song from ‘dear amelia,’ it felt like an appropriate introduction to the night ahead and captured the audience’s attention straight away. Swiftly moving into ‘Julian, king of manhattan‘ she welcomes a punchy, dynamic energy into the room.
Her glowing smile failed to dull from the second she entered the stage to the end of the night. The show clearly held deep sentimental value to her. Isenberg shared with the audience that the first headline show she played in London was to 10 people. Now, to be standing in front of a packed crowd in Islington must have felt surreal.
renforshort packed in the majority of her songs from her debut record ‘dear amelia‘ onto the setlist. Taking you on a turbulent journey, she curated a set bursting with high energy intertwined with slower ballad-like tracks. Playing fan favourites ‘moshpit‘ and ‘made for you,’ she hyped up the crowd. Proceedings then slowed back down with the sound of ‘let you down‘ and ‘not my friend.’ This mimicked the highs and lows she expresses in her songs. A selection of tracks from Lauren’s EPs ‘off saint dominique‘ and ‘teenage angst‘ also featured on the setlist. ‘bummer‘ in particular received a big response from the crowd.
The bright lights and bold beats booming around the venue created an electric atmosphere and sound, which was infectious. Isenberg’s music, although heavily influenced by pop through the ages, has a gritty edge to your conventional pop sound. This was experienced best live in harmony with the backing of her band.
The show felt very personal and intimate in the way renforshort interacted with the crowd. This was done by regularly waving and singing directly to the audience, answering questions, and taking fans’ BeReals and videos. There was a definite closeness between the artist and her fans which was refreshing to witness.
A notable moment in the show came during renforshort’s cover of Pixies‘ ‘Where Is My Mind?‘ Nothing but silence came from the pit, with all focus on the enchanting piano and vocal pairing, and the singular spotlight showcasing the very best of Lauren’s talents. In this chilling rendition of an all-time classic, its effect was mesmerising, being so pure and simple but artistically powerful. When Islington left the stage, tension was built but soon after released as the beat dropped, and she reentered to the crashing sound of electric guitar and drums. The energy was unmatched.
As the show comes to a close, she expressed her gratitude and speaks on the concept of ‘amelia‘. Although not divulging who Amelia is to her, she encourages the crowd to think about who Amelia is to them. Amelia can be anyone; someone you love, or care for, someone you strive to be, or even someone you haven’t met yet. She honours the Amelia’s in our lives by signing off to the electronic-pop sound of ‘amelia.’
There was an inevitable encore demanded by her fans. This came in the form of ‘virtual reality‘, ‘f**k, i luv my friends,’ and ‘i drive me mad‘ being performed. renforshort clearly was struggling to pull herself off the stage. ‘i drive me mad‘ left an undeniable buzz in the room as the musicians’ exited for the final time. After the show, you left feeling as if you just experienced a personal connection with the artist. This is thanks to her warm interactions and the excitement for the support she received.