By Ben Hofmann
Blazing energy and pink hair to match it: Bea Miller delivered a crazy range of emotions to a sold-out Paradise Rock Club last Saturday, November 2nd. Only 20 years old, Miller included songs spanning from her debut 2015 album (“Fire N Gold”) to one day before the show (“THAT BITCH”), with the majority of songs released from her sophomore 2018 album aurora.
Perhaps most refreshing about Bea Miller’s performance was that she spoke almost as much as she sang, something atypical for most pop musicians. After opening the show with “song like you,” Miller followed by saying “be warned, I tell a lot of stories,” and, indeed, stories were told. Unlike the recycled, stale phrases that most artists sprinkle into their shows, these stories were like a lovely stream of consciousness, connecting Miller to her music, her thoughts, and whatever else came to her mind at any moment (like when she blew her nose on stage and said “doesn’t it sound like an elephant!?”). Her musicianship was stellar. She didn’t have to captivate the audience with her personality to put on a good show, but she did.
After “song like you,” Bea Miller performed “outside” and “to the grave,” absolutely owning the stage to the point that even a security guard took a video. It’s worth mentioning that Miller’s band was also incredible. The guitar solos, drum rhythms, and synths kept the energy high throughout the night, and instrumentalists were as visibly engaged with the music as Miller was.
As the night continued, Miller became more vocal about societal and structural issues she’s passionate about. Before performing “S.L.U.T.,” she questioned why it’s hard for people to just be nice, especially women towards other women.
Additionally, before performing her latest song, “THAT BITCH,” Miller addressed parents in the audience, whose concern she seemed to anticipate. She wanted to emphasize that she wasn’t cussing for fun, but rather to intentionally and deliberately accentuate a double standard within the music industry: “a man would not hesitate to put out a song like this so neither did I.” With that, she gave her most cocky, confident performance of the night. It encapsulated all the dimensions of Bea Miller that make her her: her boldness, her emotions, and her evolved, mature swagger.
In between “S.L.U.T.” and “THAT BITCH,” Bea Miller performed “feel something,” with drums leading into “like that,” one of the few times Miller didn’t speak during a transition. After tearing up slightly during “like that” she exclaimed, “I don’t want to be sad!,” and performed “it’s not you it’s me” and “FEELS LIKE HOME”. The audience knew all the words to “it’s not you it’s me,” and before performing “FEELS LIKE HOME,” which features Jessie Reyez, Miller somewhat jokingly teased the audience about tweets she saw that were critical of the song, but Bea Miller said she loved the song, so she sang it anyway.
After “S.L.U.T.,” Miller performed “Fire N Gold,“”NEVER GONNA LIKE YOU,” and “I Wanna Know” as an encore, which had everybody singing, jumping, and dancing. It was one of those concerts that, after it ends, you realize was more energizing than it was draining.
After reading this, when you open Spotify to listen to “THAT BITCH” by Bea Miller, make sure you also search her openers, Kennedi and Kah-lo, specifically “Ginger” by Kah-lo. It was Kah-lo’s birthday on the night of the concert, and after her set finished, everybody backstage came out, including Bea Miller in what looked like pajamas, to wish Kah-lo a happy birthday: birthday cake, candles, and all. It was cute.
I now know that Bea Miller loves Halloween, hates when it gets dark during the winter, hates Christmas because all she would get were socks, wrote “outside” originally to be a terrible song so her management team would give her a break, and thinks blowing her nose sounds like an elephant. Thank you to the 1824 team of Universal Music for giving me a ticket to cover this show. It exceeded all expectations.