REVIEW: Betty Who spices up San Francisco's Rickshaw Stop

Photos taken  / collage created by Jake Giles

Photos taken  / collage created by Jake Giles

Betty Who's debut show in San Francisco felt more like a homecoming. It was the closing night of her Getaway tour, and the audience had their varsity jackets on and their converse shoes tightened. Riding the buzz of a viral video featuring her Whitney Houston tribute "Somebody Loves You" and a flawless 4 song EP called The Movement,  Betty took the stage around 11:30pm to deafening hollers from hoards of girls and gays. Opening with the breezy "You're In Love," Betty fist-pumped to every word of the chorus as her band bopped along. She beamed as the audience sang every word right back to her. 

With a brand of pop that packs playful lyrics and big vocals, Betty Who embraces the bombasticness of the genre like a seasoned pro, despite being a newcomer to the scene. After the crowd enthusiastically agreed that Betty should play a new song, she launched into her next single "Heartbreak Dream" from her upcoming EP. If you thought "Somebody Loves You" was instant, wait until the chorus of this one smacks you in the face with a glittery hand. This absolutely infectious pop banger is just the song Betty Who needs to go from blogged about to being the name on every pop fan's lips. 

The Sydney-native slowed it down midway through her set for the atmospheric "Right Here." Stripped to a reverberating keyboard and Betty's pure croon, the artist mesmerized the crowd for the duration of the song. To snap everyone out of their dreamy hypnosis, Betty launched into another new one called "Giving You Away," which she explained was about a relationship gone wrong (Writer's Note: she was trying to find the right word to explain this guy, and I shouted out "AWFUL!" and she agreed, saying I took the word right from her mouth). Again, this song featured a fully-realized sound of a born pop star that bodes well for the upcoming EP.

As the set drew to a close, fans deduced that two of her best songs were yet to come. However, before the grand finale, Betty Who reminded us why she's a pop star of the people. She's the first to profess her love for solid pop and she put the music where her mouth is with a joyous cover of "Say You'll Be There," the second monster single from the Spice Girls. With a voice comparable to Mel C's, the powerhouse behind the Spice Girls, it was basically the entire song sung with fabulous force. 

Coming down that from high was impossible, so of course Betty ramped up the energy with "High Society," which has arguably one of the best choruses of 2013. "We'll drink Chardonay through the day cuz we say so / a silk lapel suits you well baby you know" I mean, come on. That's on everyone's wish list every day. 

Finally, it was time for the song that will carry her into 2014. "Somebody Loves You" is inescapable in its power to make you beam from ear to ear. The concert turned into a giant sing-a-long with Betty Who as the perfect conductor. Her satisfaction over a job well-done was easy to read, and she should truly be proud of the direction she's heading. Seeing her in a small venue like this will be nearly impossible in as little as a few months from now, because there's not just somebody who loves Betty Who, it's everybody. 

Setlist:

  1. You're In Love
  2. Alone Again
  3. Heartbreak Dream
  4. Right Here
  5. Giving Me Away
  6. Lovin Start
  7. All Of You
  8. Say You'll Be There (Spice Girls Cover)
  9. High Society
  10. Somebody Loves You