Three sold-out shows graced Oxford’s O2 Academy on the final day of February this year – One Direction support act 5 Seconds of Summer, DJ Annie Mac, and London-based singer Louisa Allen, more commonly known as Foxes.
Given that Foxes’ general success thus far has been due to her collaborations – notably on Zedd’s ‘Clarity’ and Fall Out Boy’s ‘Just One Yesterday’ – Foxes certainly did well to sell out an Academy 2 gig. The crowd, largely groups of teenage girls and late-twenties couples, certainly seemed to think so.
Arriving on stage a good twenty-five minutes later than the running times suggested, Foxes still received cheers – notably from the rows of fangirls right by the front of the stage – as she launched into her first few tracks. After a somewhat hesitant start, Foxes became visibly more comfortable as the performance continued, her voice gaining strength throughout the show. The set-list was suitably varied – Foxes’ debut single, ‘Youth’, had the majority of the unusually static crowd bobbing along, with even the occasional jump attempted. Her newest single, ‘Let Go For Tonight’ also proved popular.
Added to this, Foxes displayed her incredible musical talent most prominently when she let her voice take centre stage. A mash-up cover of both Eminem ft. Rihanna’s ‘The Monster’ and Drake’s ‘Hold On, We’re Going Home’ really allowed Foxes’ vocal training to shine, and was a lot more enjoyable than some of the more electro-heavy songs. ‘Beauty Queen’ was sung beautifully – the “more acoustic” feel, as she put it herself, allowed the powerful message of the lyrics to be heard and displayed Foxes’ talent as both a singer and a songwriter. The use of keyboard, rather than the synth-pop and electro, really gave this song a layer of emotional quality that the mesmerised crowd engaged with. Finishing with Zedd’s ‘Clarity’, arguably the song that shot Foxes into the music industry with the most force, was definitely a crowd-pleaser, and not just for the girl that kept screaming her request at the stage.
Despite her amazing vocal strength, the stage was perhaps a little too big for Foxes. With her drummer and keyboardist polarised at either end of the stage, it seemed that the space in between was a bit too much for Foxes to know what to do with. Ensue a lot of hair tousling (though her fringe stayed perfectly in place – a true achievement), the intentional knocking over of the mic stand no less than six times, and some awkward engaging with the crowd.
All-in-all, Foxes’ vocal strength was the highlight of the show, as it should be. With a little more experience and time, hopefully Foxes will become more comfortable on stage, allowing the crowd to interact with her more successfully. The release of Foxes’ second album in May will definitely be one to watch out for.