It would be easy to be cynical about Maggie Rogers; the glowing Pharrell endorsement, the tens of millions of streams out of nowhere, the shimmering pink stickers for sale on the way into Omeara tonight that read ‘I was at Maggie Rogers FIRST tour’. The honest truth though is that no amount of cash or backing can manufacture what’s going on inside tonight - that’s all Maggie. This is when it becomes clear that Maggie Rogers really is something quite special. Omeara is packed, not just full, packed. It’s not packed full of people checking out the source of the buzz either, it’s packed with fans; the kind of adoring fans an artist might garner after a few albums, a debut at least, for Maggie it took one EP.
What’s more, she deserves it. Maggie’s live show belongs to an artist beyond her level too. She oozes confidence but not arrogance, her show is clean and hits every mark, without losing heart. In fact, bar the few times Maggie has to stop, the volume and enthusiasm with which the crowd are singing back the words to songs mere months old overwhelming her, she doesn’t put a foot wrong.
Visibly having the time of her life, Maggie swaggers and bounces around the stage, her relentless energy never affecting her smooth, dexterous vocals. Though admittedly there’s little embellishment in terms of her live band, which often fades into the background, sounding more like a backing track than a fully formed live act, Maggie is more than captivating enough to counteract. Highlights from her recent ‘Now That The Light Is Fading’ EP come alive; viral sensation ‘Alaska’’s understated, subtle chorus has more body and richness while ‘Dog Years’’ satisfyingly smooth flow is never once broken. Rounded off by a couple of promisingly infectious new songs as well as a lively cover of Neil Young’s ‘Harvest Moon’, this feels like a mature and well-rounded set, faltered only by a tendency for familiarity between songs caused by a backing band that will surely be developed over time.
As Maggie shouts out hiking buddies and trans-continental pals (and her parents) from her fluctuating position on stage and in among the crowd, there’s a sense of intimacy in this sold out, but still small, show that is unlikely to be achieved for much longer. The stickers are right, attendance at this first tour is likely to become a bragging right, if things continue, the next one will be a biggie.
Photos: Robin Pope