LIVE REVIEW: Scene Queen, In Her Own Words, Delilah Bon, O2 Academy Islington, London, 09/10/2023
A pleasantly balmy Monday night in a venue infamously ensconced in a shopping area is not what one usually would pick when describing a night filled with big singalongs, feminine energy and a sprinkling of queer joy, but that’s what we got on this fabulous October evening. We also picked up some bread and milk for the morning.
Delilah Bon started the night with a rousing set featuring overtly and unapologetically feminist anthems. She got a huge cheer when she openly expressed support for the trans community, who were well represented in the crowd this evening. Dead Men Don’t Rape sounded massive and would have made more sense as the closing song because it had much more crowd participation, and this crowd was more than happy to chant along to it. If she had wanted to, this song could have been dragged out for another 10 minutes and the crowd would still have been shouting it just as loud. A real highlight of the evening. Bon also expressed clear an obvious solidarity with the trans community. 8/10
In Her Own Words were handed a very difficult task in following that and its reasonable to question whether the show might have flowed better with the bands reversed. This band did not let that even enter their heads, as they bounded onto the stage with the enthusiasm of a child given an ice cream. The Los Angeles group were actually something a solid portion of the crowd became rather keen on and the two very excited fans standing near this reviewer appeared to be here for them above anyone else. An overall solid show which many people were starting to really enjoy as they got to know the personality of the band, but sandwiched between two artists that hit a very different demographic and mood is always going to be a hard challenge. Credit to the band for going in and getting on with it with professionalism and joy. 7/10
When you walk on stage to a remix of Barbie Girl, you are setting out your stall in no uncertain terms. Scene Queen’s physical set leant in the the sorority house aesthetic, and seeing both Delilah Bon and In Her Own Words play under the banner of Bimbo Beta Pi was delightful. Think Legally Blonde but written by Paris Hilton and Ke$ha. Bimbos beans and toast is the best name you will see for a tour in some time. She also leaned heavily into the Spice Girls font for merch, another incredibly savvy move. Scene Queen is a marketing princess at the very least. Love that for her.
18+, her best song with a chorus melody most bands could simply not get close to if they stole it was a humongous, almost feral moment, and the only voices you could hear were female and feminine-presenting. The song’s “controversial” message that “bands abusing children is bad” may have been a problem for unenlightened morons, but it’s a song that will go down as a cult classic at the very least. It’s so built for audience interaction too, with the “too old for this….get it?” getting a huge cheer. Another surprise was a new song, tentatively titled MILF, which the audience was asked to take part in a two step hoedown. It went down a treat.
The show is also helped by the fact that she is incredibly likeable and endearing on stage just chatting to the crowd. She’s almost as entertaining between songs just telling the crowd about how her first song wasn’t a viral hit but her second one was, or introducing her currently unreleased song asking for a two step hoedown. None of this would matter though, if the songs weren’t catchy and let me tell you, if you had stumbled into this show through dumb luck or just the desire to have an evening out of the house, you would have been singing this divine hook from the rapturously received Pink Hotel “gays with ADHD, listen to me, I am your Scene Queen” by the second pass with your whole chest like you were pledging fealty to your new Queen. Pink Push Up Bra has such a strong sense of bounce to it, and should be a club banger all over the country, and its strong taking back of agency and power from abusive men hits exactly where it should.
Whilst Scene Queen puts the “ho in hotel”, she also puts the class in class act, with her incredibly wholesome and lovely inductions to Bimbo Beta Pi. Taking three audience members and asking them to on stage give name and pronouns was an incredibly endearing and inclusive gesture, and both her and Delilah Bon made it incredibly clear that trans people are welcome. She even took the time to explicitly chat about the current situation with the rhetoric from the recent Conservative party conference. Both artists have a clear trans following within their prominent wider LGBT fanbases and it was wonderful to see this brief but earnest expression of inclusion.
This was an excellent show, showcasing that there is a bright pink future out there for the scene, as one of its most interesting and subversive talents continues her rise. Bimbo Beta Pi’s inclusive and genderless ranks will continue to grow. 9/10
Written by: Louis Tsangarides