mon 27/05/2024

Carly Rae Jepsen, Brighton Dome review - iridescent disco hooks to get you dancing | reviews, news & interviews

Carly Rae Jepsen, Brighton Dome review - iridescent disco hooks to get you dancing

Carly Rae Jepsen, Brighton Dome review - iridescent disco hooks to get you dancing

Dance floor synth pop I didn’t know I knew

Carly Rae Jepsen on tour at Brighton Dome

If I’m honest, venturing out into a misty Brighton night with my Tweens for their first proper gig (we won’t count Olly Murs – they were children then) felt somewhat trepidatious.

I was buoyed by seeing other parents in the same situash, and comforted by the warmth of both crowd and venue in the Brighton Dome. The audience was a sliced n’diced mix of older MTV-range couples who grew up with CRJ’s music the first time round; Gen-Z Tik-Tok newbies who grew up watching Ballerina (an animated film featuring excellent musical-pop by Jepsen) and a strong LGBTQ+ crowd who take to the pit to sing along to their icon, busting out some serious moves to “Boy Troubles” and “Too Much”.

The stage is a pick ‘n’ mix of glitter curtains and rainbow bar lights with generous confetti canons and the evening sees a fun medley of songs from Dedicated, Emotion and her most recent album, The Loneliest Time. “Surrender My Heart”, “Joshua Tree”, and “Run Away With Me” demonstrate the Canadian singer’s feel-good formula of fizzing disco pop and immediately memorable chorus to wildy wave our arms in the air to. Jepsen is bubblegum cutesy, eager to please her loyal crowd, telling them “we’re going to make this a party tonight!” She’s as comfortable playing the songs she’s mad famous for (“Call Me Maybe” and “I Really Like You”) as the lesser-known tunes.

Although having said that, “Julien” is one of those tracks that you didn’t realise you knew until you do, and then you realise life is made up of songs you didn’t realise you knew and most of them are actually by Carly Rae Jepsen. There’s a lot more here than I gave her credit for.

She chats about getting back to dating in your thirties, which sits a little incongruously with the more spritely of her teen-bops – but as my daughter says, “she looks like she’s about 20” which makes it all the more palatable. Being older and wiser, Jepsen now refers to “I Didn’t Just Come Here to Dance” as not just about picking up people in a bar, but as a mantra for life. It’s the kind of camp that I am totally here for.

Her songs are deeply and uniformly successfully generic, thematically never departing from breaking the rules or making time for a boy and not being that kinda girl etc. but she owns the blueprint with such a vivacious spirit that it’s impossible not to be swept along to “E•MO•TION”, “Out of Control”, “So Nice” or “Want You in My Room”. Her last song, the pared back acoustic love story “Go Find Yourself, or Whatever” is the only ballad that deviates from this norm, but thank the Gods of Synth Pop, the finale gives us a whirl of “Boys Around The World” and finally “Cut To The Feeling” of aforementioned Ballerina fame and we are left with our proverbial feather boas streaming and glitter balls spinning.

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