Betty Who Displays Undeniable Stage Presence at House of Blues Cambridge Room

Concert Review


It's a great time to be a fan of female-fronted electropop, what with the abundance of talented artists operating within the genre—to name a few, Charli XCX, Sky Ferreira, Grimes, Banks and Little Daylight. The Australian Betty Who is the latest artist making waves in this style, thanks to the '80s-reminiscent sugar rush "Somebody Loves You."

Naturally, that tune appeared last in the 22-year-old's 45-minute set that took place last night at a sweltering Cambridge Room at House of Blues. The relentlessly upbeat song maintained the energy and synth spikes of its recorded version, which delighted the ecstatic dancing masses at the front of the stage. The same couldn't be said for all of Betty Who's set, at least musically: For every success—such as the sultry R&B jam "Lovin' Start," which was described cheekily by her as a cross between "Phil Collins and Ja Rule/Ashanti," and the Madonna-eque new wave trifle "High Society"—there was an equal amount of forgettable, generic electro. Although Betty Who is obviously angling to capitalize on the dancepop market, her singing voice in that range can be uneven. (At times, she unfortunately resembled Mel C of the Spice Girls and her thin vocals.) She sounded much stronger when she slipped into an evocative R&B vocal style, as heard on a sultry cover of Destiny's Child "Say My Name."

Looking like a cross between Drew Barrymore, Pink and late '80s Belinda Carlisle—blame it on a punkish blond pompadour and an all-white outfit—Betty Who compensated for the night's weaker material with charisma. More specifically, she employed synchronized dance moves with her bandmates, charming stage banter (a quip about how the word "bitch" is now a compliment was particularly funny) and plenty of flirty crowd interaction. Although her exaggerated facial expressions were a bit much at times—in fact, these made the show feel like a theater performance rather than a concert—her enthusiasm for the music and the rapturous crowd was palpable. In the end, any shortcomings fell by the wayside—they were simply bulldozed by Betty Who's mammoth stage presence.

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