Review: Lucy Spraggan at Engine Rooms, Southampton

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Spraggan’s latest Southampton performance didn’t quite match up to her previous shows.

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Being a long-term fan of Lucy Spraggan‘s, and having seen her now more times than can fit on a hand, it’s safe to say I’ve witnessed some of her best performances. But her return to Southampton’s Engine Rooms certainly wasn’t one of them. The crowd lacked enthusiasm, the set list didn’t live up to those previous, and she seemed to be missing some of her usual energy (whether this is due to the uninspiring crowd or personal issues, I don’t know). Her show seemed a little half-hearted, with the singer-song writer appearing sad.

However, there were some highlights and new stories that she revealed for the first time on this tour. Opening up about her song ‘As the Saying Goes’, from her newest album Today Was a Good Day, she described “this song is about self harm and mental health, and what a break up can do to you”. Though this resonated with some of the audience, Spraggan’s inspiration for ‘Love is the Best Revenge’ (also from her new album) delved even deeper into her life. Recounting her time on X-Factor, Spraggan recalled a hate-group set up by people she knew from back home (Sheffield) to target her – even going so far as to get t shirts made. But as the title indicates, after adding to her X-Factor stress and bad mental health, the star turned this hurt into love; the hated-turned-passion put back into her music.

The ultimate moment of the show was Spraggan’s cover of ‘I’m Gonna Be’ by The Proclaimers. Reminiscent of Christmas, Spraggan herself joked that it’d make the “John Lewis advert 2020”. This was the moment that actually got the dead crowd moving (finally), as everyone chanted back “da-da-da-da” enthusiastically, then allowing for a bit more banter. The crowd clearly had some long term fans in its mix, with the ‘sing-along’ portions of the show already known. When being taught how to sing along to ‘Lightning’, fans were too keen and sang too much, making Spraggan exclaim “that’s my bit!”, clearly glad to know she was around a familiar crowd.

Though there were some claps along to ‘Loaded Gun’ (one of the more exciting songs of the set), some old-faces in the crowd, and a bit of banter, something was missing. Having become more mainstream and finally gaining a bit of radio play, perhaps Spraggan is bored of the smaller venues and old routines? Usually I’d never hesitate in recommending watching Spraggan live, but after her performance at Engine Rooms I think she may need to shake up her routine a little bit. The jokes are the same, the songs don’t vary that greatly (and when they do the better ones seem to be removed!), and her energy just wasn’t there. Clearly Spraggan is bored and needs to add some more excitement into her gigs. If not, she’s at risk of losing her dedicated fan-base who, like her, will naturally become tired of knowing exactly what she’s going to say and sing next. 

If you’re interested, Lucy Spraggan continues her tour throughout November, and tickets can be bought here

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