I first came across Maisie Peters’ music in February this year after reading an interview with her on the Line of Best Fit website. She came across as a singer-songwriter with a twist. The article likened her to, amongst others, Laura Marling. Songs about relationships, but with a bit of depth to them, was the message.
So I listened to what Maisie had on Spotify. And I liked it. I didn’t get the Laura Marling connection, but I did get a whole load of very likeable pop songs with a bit of an edge in the lyrics. The subject matter was familiar: the joy of meeting someone, the hurt of them leaving, the anger at their behaviour, and even a bit of desire for revenge. And a little bit of sentimentality about home. Real life.
I downloaded her songs on iTunes and played them a bit. Not that much, but now and then. And then I found the tunes had lodged into my consciousness. I’d find myself remembering a bit of a melody, a snatch of the lyrics. They were infectious. At first my favourite two songs were at the opposite ends of the love spectrum: “Feels Like This”, which was a beautiful celebration of being with someone; and then “Birthday”, which was about the moment you realise it’s over. It was so sad! But then others worked their way in as well. Songs like “The Best I’ll Ever Sing” with its whoo-whoo refrain, and “You to You” in which Maisie hopes her ex’s new girlfriend does the same to him as he did to her.
It’s fair to say that these songs were not written for my demographic, but a good pop song is a good pop song, and Maisie Peters has loads of them. She hasn’t released an album yet, but she has made two generous EPs and string of singles. Put them together and you have a pretty outstanding album. Her latest EP, “It’s Your Bed Babe, It’s Your Funeral” (a line from opener “This Is On You”) has a slicker, dancier feel than previous efforts, and will be as a result of the people she’s working with as they see her potential. But the lyrics are as cutting as ever and her voice is getting even better. The sense of place remains too, especially in “Personal Best”.
And so to the concert at The Shepherd’s Bush Empire. As Maisie said, this year in London, she had 300 at the Omeara, 800 at the Scala, and now 2000 at the Empire. It’s a good trajectory. She played for an hour or so, including the encore, and I think everyone there would have been happy to have more. There was an impressive engagement with her audience – teenagers at the front, but quite a mixed crowd overall. And they knew all the words. Pretty much at any time Maisie could leave the singing to the crowd. She ran through a selection of songs from all of her time so far – with an emphasis on the latest EP, obviously. It worked really well live, and, again, I was struck by how quickly her fans had engaged with her latest material. She played a bit of guitar now and then, but mostly she just sang – and danced. Early on she showed her confidence these days by singing a new song away from the mic, just strumming her guitar. It sounded like another good one.
Highlights are hard to pick out, as I enjoyed it all, sitting in the seats with a friend, not waving my iPhone around, as lots of people were. There are so many anthems! But I was struck by the reception for “The Best I’ll Ever Sing”, about half way through and the last song of all, “Worst of You”. It was the one we’d heard the girls singing in the queue before the venue opened, when we went to check times. Ironically, it’s incredibly popular though it’s got a rather passive do what you like, I love you theme, which is far from typical. It has a great melody though, and that’s what matters most in pop music.
So, yes, this wasn’t the sort of concert I usually go to, but it was one of the best of the year without a doubt. I think Maisie Peters can only get more popular.
A few more photos.