Emma Blackery kicked off her YouTube channel in 2012 with funny short vlogs and sketches, but what a lot of her followers do not know is that she started making videos to promote her music. She has often stated that she is not a YouTuber who makes music, but a musician who does YouTube—and this became evident once she climbed the stage of The Waterfront, Norwich.
Her gig opened with two equally exciting artists. The band Valeras, a bunch of five young musicians, paired soft, deep vocals with strong instrumentation, creating a grunge-y rock sound with Nirvana vibes. The second artist, Rusty Clanton, turned to more of a pop-punk sound, bringing to mind songs like ‘Check Yes Juliet’ by We The Kings, before slowing things down with some more romantic tracks.
After half an hour waiting in the rain and another two occupied by the opening acts, the crowd had already started screaming ‘Emma!’ when she finally took over the stage. And she did not disappoint: she filled the room with amazing energy, positive feelings flowing even through her less happy songs, and her lively stage presence paired with the intimate size of the venue made her feel truly close to all of us.
Her interaction with the crowd was that of a professional musician as well as someone who has been vlogging for years—she knew when to shout at us to raise our hands and sing along, how to get us excited about the next song, and between tracks satisfied everyone’s need for her signature sense of humour and snarky comments.
She played songs both new and old, making sure that the whole crowd could dance along, whether they were fans from 2012 or 2017. Her first song released as a solo artist came with the story of how her previous band had kicked her out (on Twitter!), and she knew exactly how to tell it, delivering it the way she does in her videos, with perfectly timed humour. But she also found the time to send out an important message to the young crowd: after the events in Manchester, she made everyone feel just a little more safe by assuring us that we were brave for being there, for not letting violence stop us from having fun and enjoying live music.
The finale was nothing short of badass, and even while cooking under the hot stage lights, tired from traveling, she never lost her patience, delivered both her songs and her jokes flawlessly, and made everyone feel like they were a part of something important and personal. Whether you love her videos or not, seeing Emma Blackery live is an experience that will not disappoint.