Maggie Rogers at O2 Academy Brixton: Baddest witch on the planet (Review)
O2 Academy Brixton, London, 19th February 2019
There’s a full moon in the sky on the evening of the 19th February 2019. Luckily for everyone at the O2 Academy Brixton on this night, that means Maggie Rogers’ emotional energy is “through the roof”. We’re in for a special one right here, ladies and gentlemen.
Choosing “Dancing Queen” as a walkout song sets the tone perfectly, getting everyone’s energy up as Maggie takes the Brixton stage for the first time. “Give a Little” and “Burning” get the 5000-strong capacity crowd moving like there’s no tomorrow.
The show goes rapidly through the gears, reaching new levels and garnering more of a response with every song. Maggie never misses a beat, consistently hitting the high points of her setlist – particularly “Alaska” and “The Knife” – to make sure the audience stays in the palm of her hand.
The evening, but really the month or year to this point, peaks during “Light On”. A crowd favourite in its own right, Maggie takes a moment to slow the pace down a touch to introduce her “musical big sister”, South London’s own Florence Welch. The Academy ERUPTS as a palpable air of joy and disbelief washes over the crowd. Find a video of that moment and enjoy the feeling of unbridled happiness. A genuine case of you-had-to-be-there, Maggie and Florence combine to create a memory that anyone who saw it will never forget nor want to forget.
Every time I go to a gig, especially big ones and normally towards the end, I take a moment to look skywards during one of the songs. As if I have any connection or understanding of what the artist is thinking about that point in their careers, I like to think about what it means to them to be there in that moment. Wolf Alice at Alexandra Palace; Sigrid at Brixton Academy; and now Maggie Rogers. It was during “Fallingwater” – the go-home song during our hero’s biggest headlining show to date – that I looked up and felt something in the air; like the stars had aligned just perfectly to create genuine mystery and magic.
Maybe it was the crowd’s energy. Maybe it was that full moon. But, most of all, I’d like to think it was because a star was being born right in front of our eyes. One that will shine on as bright as a full moon in the night sky.