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Live Review: Beth Ditto – 16th October 2017 – KOKO, London, UK

4 min read
Photo: Mary McCartney / Capitol Music Group

I have to start this review off by saying: I feel very spoiled lately. It seems London is getting one hell of a smorgasbord of superstar performances this year with some of the music industry’s most talented acts delivering some of the finest shows of their respective careers for U.K. fans. With London being such a melting pop for live music, last nights KOKO spectacle by former Gossip front woman turned solo rocker Beth Ditto has now been added to the list.

Opening the show with a meaty performance of the catchy Oh My God and In and Out from the stars debut solo album, Fake Sugar, the musician was generous with showcasing songs from her time under the solo spotlight as well as from her album releases with her former band with many of the curvy beauties Gossip highlights bringing out many of the nights most energetic and full-throttle highlights.

Ditto, who has previously self-described herself as a “fat, feminist lesbian from Arkansas”, has always pushed herself – talent first – into the international pop pool; challenging what the industry considers to be ‘normal’. Her electrifying performances have in the past been paired with the removal of clothing and the occasional naked roll on stage while being tangled in her microphone cord but from last nights show, it seems the 36 year old has gone beyond that. Her talent behind the mic and the delivery of her growing repertoire have become priority and she proved to be a force to be reckoned with as KOKO’s busting room of super-fans delighted in many of the stars most noteworthy musical achievements as Ditto filled in her performance with stories of her family, her gratitude to her fans and even a birthday shout out to a fan in the front rows.

As the hits rolled out one after another, it was Ditto’s powerful vocals that really stole the show. Belting through uptempo foot thumpers and mastering some of Fake Sugar’s boldest ballads, Ditto’s voice could not be faulted. Despite a burping mishap during her performance of I Wrote The Book – one of the highlights of the show with its uplifting and energetic instrumentation- Ditto unleashed some of the finest vocals to ever be heard within the walls of KOKO.

It was also the audience that made last nights show something truly memorable. Made up in large part by Dittos LGBTQI+ fans, there was a happy vibe heavily felt from the smiling faces and cheerful glances from those rubbing shoulders with other electrified fans and this could have also easily been attributed to the leading lady on stage who was as much humble with her talent as she was elated to be performing back in a city she adores and a venue where she had one her first full-frontal costume malfunctions, confessing to showing her vagina to the crowd following a thunderous welcoming from her fans at a little after 9pm.

Between the hits dished up during the 90 minute set, Ditto – who remained dressed in a figure hugging sequined dress – paid tribute to one of the queer communities biggest anthems, Erasure’s A Little Respect, turning the venue into a multi-level nightclub as she mastered a classic number for her predominantly gay audience.

Turning the venue into a giant moshpit, songs including Love long Distance, a disco-laced rendition of Open Heart Surgery and We Could Run, with its optimistic lyrics and anthemic chorus, had fans on all levels of the venue dancing along in high spirits to the star who paced the stage with confidence and exhilaration.

While swooning the crowd with heartfelt ballad Lover and Fake Sure lead single Fire, Ditto’s electrifying vocals tore through the venue on set and career highlights Standing In The Way Of Control and Heavy Cross – both of which turned the venue into a brimming performance space of jumping bodies beneath a sea of phones held in the air to catch the star effortlessly unleash two of her most intense and infectious punk/pop gems.

As super-friendly Ditto admitted to her adoring fans on numerous occasions throughout the set; she considers London her home and the city she has felt most welcomed, so it was no surprise that last nights performance felt more like a homecoming show than just another regular date on the touring calendar to check off. It was certainly a show fans will remember for some time to come, that’s for sure.

Oh My God
In And Out
I Wrote The Book
Fake Sugar
Open Heart Surgery
Ooh La La
Love Long Distance (Gossip song)
We Could Run
A Little Respect (Erasure cover)
Heavy Cross

Standing In The Way Of Control (Gossip song)