Emily Calder discusses Maisie Peters’ warming and impressive live show at Birmingham’s Sunflower Lounge
Entering the intimate embrace of The Sunflower Lounge on a warm April evening, the packed room was humming with anticipation for the stunning Maisie Peters. Following her impressive support act Plested, who has written for the likes of Little Mix and The Chainsmokers, watching her band warm up whilst listening to a ‘girl power’ playlist created by Peters herself was an extraordinary moment of expectation. As the singer wandered through the crowd towards the stage, backed by the final chorus of the Spice Girls’ ‘Wannabe’, the audience was keen for her to begin as she quickly opened with the warm notes of ‘In My Head’. With a grin on her face and donning a red velvet jumper, Peters emerged into the spotlight and animatedly performed, the crowd following her every word.
Following a thundering applause, Maisie greeted the audience warmly, joking that the crowd were attending the ‘Maisie Peters Experience’ and encouraging them to treat the occasion like a school assembly, and sing ‘with as much passion as you would Hosanna’. In spite of her jokey tone and the laughs she received, this was exactly what occurred. Maisie then picked up her acoustic guitar and crooned her first ever release ‘Place We Were Made’. Her pianist, Tina, who has previously played with The Pet Shop Boys and Clean Bandit, added an orchestral element has she accompanied her in the second half of the song. This was quickly followed with the heart-wrenching ‘Best I’ll Ever Sing’, enhanced by subtle blue lighting and a muted guitar within the final verse – the presence of the band was extremely noticeable, and truly enhanced songs to give them an entirely new feel that the studio versions do not provide.
This performance was unfortunately followed by some sound issues, but Peters dealt with the gap admirably, chatting away with the audience as fans queried the wellbeing of her cat Otis (who is doing very well indeed). This was accompanied by a shout out to both a friend (a University of Birmingham student) in the audience and her sister, and a token affectionate mention to Snobs Nightclub. The singer encouraged the crowd to sing the next song, her breakup bop ‘You To You’, with ‘all the hatred they had’, and this performance was definitely the most energetic of the night. The crowd passionately sang the last verse – Peters asking the crowd ‘And then she what?’, to which fans passionately chanted back ‘And then she fucks you over just for fun!’, the room alight with empowerment. Peters then treated the crowd to a new song ‘This Is On You’, an up-beat bop about cutting people off, which was very well received by the eager crowd as everyone swayed along to the catchy lyrics ‘It’s your bed babe, it’s your funeral’. Peters then mixed her new song with her well-loved ballad ‘Birthday’, much to the crowd’s delight as they sang along passionately. This was one of the stand-out moments of the set, and really sums up the close relationship that Maisie shares with her following; they were equally as enthusiastic about a song they had never heard as the ballads that they have been enjoying at home.
The singer then reintroduced calmness to the stage, after affectionately introducing her band (and guitars, named Greta and Edna) and thanking her crew, with her soft ballads ‘Favourite Ex and ‘Architecture’. The strings and craft that her pianist added to the songs, alongside the delicate backing vocals, enhanced the heartfelt sentiment of her music as the crowd was left transfixed.
What made this section especially distinct was Maisie singing ‘Favourite Ex’ to her sister (whose ex, she revealed, inspired the song) in the crowd, with a wide smile. The autobiographical aspect of her music was especially prominent at this stage, and epitomised the intimacy and relatability of Peters’ writing that makes her fans feel so close to her. After an up-beat performance of one of Maisie’s most recent releases ‘Stay Young’, and a beautiful encore, Peters thanked fans profusely for being a wonderful audience and left the stage with her band still serenading them to the final notes of ‘Worst Of You’. They filtered out still bustling with the excitement and beauty of her performance.
Whilst the intimacy of the venue indicates that Maisie Peters’ avid following has room to grow, she truly seems off to an excellent start for such a young individual who is only one EP deep into her career. The authenticity and relatability in her writing is just as evident in her personality and nature as a performer; her songs are as real as her talent, and she is part of a small proportion of artists who are able to re-craft their songs entirely in live performance. The loyalty of her following and anticipation for her growth and future music was felt within the room throughout the evening, and I am positive that this sold-out tour will be followed by many more stunning shows and releases as she grows as an artist. I, for one, cannot wait to see what else Maisie has in store.