Self Esteem: Britain’s next pop sensation stuns the QMU ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑

By Danny Munro (he/him)

Self Esteem live at the Queen Margret Union, via Stewart Iain Fullerton Photography

Going solo after spending eleven years as one half of indie rockers Slow Club was undoubtedly a decision that Rebecca Lucy Taylor did not take lightly. But following the release of her 2019 debut Compliments Please and the Guardian Album of the year 2021 Prioritise Pleasure, it has become increasingly obvious that Taylor’s rebrand to Self Esteem was the best decision she’s ever made.  

From the off on Tuesday night, Britian’s newly-elected queen of pop made it abundantly clear to Glasgow’s west end crowd that she was not there to muck about. Coming straight out of the blocks  with the empowering ‘I’m Fine’, the enthusiastic crowd echoed every word back, even barking along to the interlude at the end of the track about making dog noises to fend off strange men on nights-out. 

The Self Esteem tour de force showed no signs of relenting, ‘Fucking Wizardry’, ‘Hobbies 2’ and the recent title-track ‘Prioritise Pleasure’ all followed in quick succession, with Taylor not even pausing to address the crowd until around the half hour mark, where she politely asked for permission to “pop off”.  

Taylor isn’t spoiled for set-list choice in terms of her discography size, but the Brit award nominee made excellent use of the two albums worth of tracks available to her, squeezing sixteen bangers into a set which lasted just over an hour. Just like in her albums, Taylor weaved between witty lines about sexting, to gut wrenching tales of bad-exes seamlessly, providing a masterclass on emotional performances to any budding artists in the crowd.  

The formidable ‘How Can I Help You’ provided a personal highlight, it’s repeated “I don’t know shit” hook creating an intense atmosphere in the packed hall before Taylor and the band smoothly transitioned to the immensely catchy ‘Moody’.  

Taylor rattled through a few more tracks from both releases, ending on a stunning performance of her lead single ‘I do this all the time’, before an encore consisting of the rousing ‘Still Reigning’ and dance floor filler, ‘The Best’. 

It would be extremely unfair to review Self Esteem’s Glasgow performance without mentioning her supporting band, who helped transform what would have been a great performance into something much more. All dressed in coordinating black blazers, Taylor was supported on vocals and choreography by Seraphina Simone and Marged Sion, with Mike Park providing the drums for the evening and the immensely impressive Sophie Galpin assisting with backing vocals, keys, guitar and backing drums.  

It would have been easy for Self Esteem to put on a far more low key and stripped back performance than this one and still be applauded by her growing support. But the committed effort of the constant choreography, the stage aesthetics and the unfaltering energy provided by all five performers on stage was a credit to just how seriously Taylor and her band take their craft. If it hasn’t already, the music world should take note from Self Esteem on how touring should look in 2022.