It’s an unseasonably warm Los Angeles night, as Suki Waterhouse takes the stage as entrancing siren of nostalgic alt-pop for her ‘Coolest Place in the World’ tour stop at the Fonda Theatre. The stage was drenched in violet, rose, and tangerine light as the singer and actress played heavily through her debut album, ‘I Can’t Let Go’, while making sure not to miss a single fan favourite.
It’s the penultimate stop of her 23-show run, and Waterhouse glides effortlessly through her set as an entranced crowd sways and sings along. She shares anecdotes of past “mattress on the floor in his mum’s basement” loves and asks fans about their Valentine’s Day plans. All the while, her hair is perfectly windswept, thanks to a strategically placed fan, giving her a look that typically comes by way of driving in the car with the windows down in the summer breeze.
Midway through her set, the British-born singer is in a groove so deep it could be mistaken for a trance. In instrumental breaks, she dances carefree across the stage, embodying the energy of the ’70s rockstar she’ll soon portray in the anticipated series, Daisy Jones And The Six. However, in moments where she stops between songs and engages with the crowd, Waterhouse’s undeniable, cool girl persona drops to reveal her sincere excitement as an artist who has just sold out one of Hollywood’s most iconic theatres.
Back in the spring of 2022, when her album was first released, Waterhouse described the debut as a process of finding the courage to share her incredibly personal songwriting with the world. “Jumping into those anxieties helped me feel free,” she told NME. “I think it’s something to do with an acknowledgement of fear. It’s when you’re not afraid to show up with the things that you’re afraid of that leads to confidence.” The choice appears to have paid off as Waterhouse’s warm, humming voice fills the room backed by her driving, indie-rock bandmates, and her fans resonate with every word.
She plays one of her most fitting songs for the city-of-the-night towards the end of her set. “Welcome to my Melrose Meltdown / Nobody ever breaks up, we just break down,” she sings as the theatre wholeheartedly yells the words of her song ‘Melrose Meltdown’ back to her. The dusk-toned, cinematic track is one of the highlights of the night, which ends with Waterhouse’s most viral hit, ‘Good Looking.’
She may have taken a leap in choosing to write lyrics that share some of her most intimate thoughts and feelings with the world, but if her songs are a call, her fans’ response can be summed up in one gesture which takes place at the end of her set. The moment she makes her metaphorical jump literal and comes down from the stage, everyone on the floor rushes to meet her at the barricade.
Suki Waterhouse played:
‘Bullshit On the Internet’
‘The Devil I Know’
‘Under Your Thumb’
‘Coolest Place in the World’
‘Put Me Through It’