Dodie, who rules pop with her fascinating alchemy of relatable emotion and unearthly self-possession, is a teen sensation singer songwriter. Amassing over 1.7 million subscribers on YouTube, 2,076,181 monthly listeners and 555,761 followers on Spotify organically and independently since she was 16, the 24 year old singer from Epping has released 3 EPs which have charted in the UK, US Billboard, and Australian album charts. Fortunately, I had the immensely lucky opportunity to go see her on her UK tour playing her most recent album ‘Human’, which notably reached #5 in the UK Albums Chart at the beginning of 2019. I had been listening to Dodie since early 2015 when I first discovered her soft ukulele-piano covers of popular songs such as ‘Death of a Bachelor’ by Panic! At the Disco where by then gradually her original songs and collaborations with other musicians on YouTube began gaining more views such as ‘An Awkward Duet’ which currently has over 15 million views on her channel. Her lyrics provide comfort in all the areas where teens feel alone, singing about the bittersweet highs and lows of romance, sexuality, and mental health issues. On 19th October 2019, Dodie played at the Roundhouse with opening acts, Dublin singer-songwriter Orla Garland who interestingly doubles as Dodie’s guitarist and Leeds-born band Kawala.
Arriving to line up early to achieve the best views of the stage at around 12pm, as we had bought standing tickets. Unfortunately, I am barely average height unlike my best friend who stands a tall 6’1ft. She is quite literally a tree to me. To our surprise, despite the doors opening at 6pm with the main act at 9pm, the line already snaked around from Chalk Farm Road to Camden Market! A handful of the queue-squatters were GCSE/ A level students like ourselves and a loud chatter of friendship groups and snack swapping and LGBT+ flag waving welcomed me and my best friend, Isobel nicely, only feeling the 6 hours that had passed us by the drop in temperature at around 6pm and hunger for a warm meal. Luckily there was a Dominoes nearby. Soon enough, the doors opened, and we entered the venue with our stomachs full, ready to sing our hearts out. There was a merch stand selling t-shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts, posters and wristbands commemorating this concert date as well as general merch that is available on her website for a reasonable price. Two teams of security were present, one at the entrance where you show your ticket and another circle inside the venue, making sure any water-bottles that were brought in were without lids. At around 7pm, the lights went dim and a spurt of orange hair sparkled amongst the cheers of the crowd, Orla Garland played new tracks from her then unreleased EP album ‘Why Am I Like This?’ along with some old favourites such as ‘I Go Crazy’ and ‘Between my Teeth’. The crowd favourite and mine and Isobel’s was her final performance of ‘Flatline’ – a bath of colourful streamers and jumping bodies and screams of surprise when Dodie herself joined the party on stage along with her crew, only to quickly disappear behind the stage once more, teasing us with what more is to come. The lights went dark once more and we again were waiting. Soon enough, Jim Higson of KAWALA appeared and began playing their indie-folk tunes such as ‘Do it Like You Do’ and ‘Runaway’ which both have a hefty beat that you can’t refuse dancing to and a wicked guitar solo by legendary Dan Lee! Then finally, the opening track to Dodie’s ‘Arms Unfolding’, dripped through the speakers and into the dark.
Upon the stage was Dodie’s band, which consisted of Pete D as bassist, Ross Craib on drums, Elena Abad on violin, Orla Gartland on guitar, and of course the leading star – dodie clark. Over the course of the hour and half, she performed a whopping 18 songs, all of which had me in tears. The stage setup was simplistic which reflected the beginnings of Dodie’s career in her bedroom, recording covers and uploading them onto YouTube. Warm stage lights and twinkling fairy lights of multiple colours gave the sense of home and this is what allured more than 4,000 young people into what feels like family. During the concert, me and Isobel had signed more than 4 different lgbt flags with our social media handles to keep in contact, were given a sheet of pink paper to hold over our phone torch for when Dodie played her classic, tear jerking song ‘She’ and 3 bottles of water that were being distributed by a group of friends also attending the concert. I will never forget the moment at exactly 3:09 into ‘Party Tattoos’, all of our voices, even the small and especially the loud, sang our hearts out to the lyrics of ‘And we're not bruised they're just party tattoos. And that colourful mess is just colourful regret. Black lipstick will never be a sin. We'll regret it when we're old with wrinkled up skin’ which summed everything about the night perfectly. And with that, if there’s anything you will take from this review, just how Dodie has sung many times before ‘there will be a day when you can say you’re okay and mean it’.