Caity Baser review – cartwheeling celebration of chatty, bratty girlhood

Caity Baser review – cartwheeling celebration of chatty, bratty girlhood

Of all the words to describe Caity Baser, shy would not be high on the list. On the opening night of her Still Learning tour (“my mixtape, which is number fucking seven in the charts by the way!”), the Southampton newcomer appears in silhouette behind a giant L plate, striking a pose as disembodied voices bemoan her attitude, her songwriting, the feeling that “she’s fit but can’t sing”. Tearing things down with a baseball bat, she steps out in a mesh top and frilly pantaloons, lurching headlong into I’m a Problem. Boasting of her “big dick energy”, it has her in full flight within seconds.

To the more conservative listener, everything about Baser’s music could be deemed a bit much – too loud, too crude, too young at 21 to really know what kind of artist she is. But over the course of an energetic hour (and the foresight to realise that her hits will sound even better with the backing of a live pop-punk band), she cheerleads and cartwheels her way through what is essentially a celebration of chatty, bratty girlhood, embracing the joys and messes along the way.

X&Y is reminiscent of Eliza Doolittle’s whistling noughties hit Skinny Genes, while Why Can’t I Have Two? (2468) is a playful menage a trois send-up that offers a cool side glance at gendered double standards: “Why should boys have all the fun? Not a slut, just a woman.” Revelling in the silliness of it all, she twerks against the stage rigging, doing gigantic gleeful thrusts to clarify that yes, she is singing about sex.

But she leans harder into her role as a sort of big sister to fans. Choose Me is introduced as an anthem of romantic self-worth, while Grow Up looks back on a painful fallout with friends with bittersweet acceptance. She starts it on a keyboard, but finds herself temporarily overcome by emotion, huffing into the mic as she tries to pull herself together: “I’m not a fucking pussy, c’mon man!” It doesn’t take her long to unseat herself and win it back, scatting and stomping like a woman freed.

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In Baser’s world, candour and comedy are both superpowers – the kind of relatable showgirl who would happily kick down the toilet door of the club bathroom if it meant raising a smile from the girl sat crying within. Baser may sing of emotional dysfunction, but early-career stardom has rarely looked this clear.