BBC Proms at Sage Gateshead review: Self Esteem and Royal Northern Sinfonia

Written by on 28th September 2023

Rating: ★★★★★

Image ID: 2RDKPHK Gateshead, UK, 21.07.23—Self Esteem performs with Royal Northern Sinfonia at Sage Gateshead as part of BBC Proms, credit: Thomas Jackson / Alamy Stock Photo

The BBC Proms returned to the Sage in July for a pop-sinfonic hybrid concert with Self esteem performing her most well known hits in an entirely different arrangement in what felt like a gospel service for her self founded almost religious like movement of empowerment. We review both her set and the support act who were the alt-country band Divorce Below


London, UK, 21/07/2023, 21.07.23—Divorce perform at Sage Gateshead, supporting Self Esteem x Royal Northern Sinfonia, as part of BBC Proms 2023 Credit: Thomas Jackson/Alamy Live News—Image ID: 2RDKNKF

Divorce are a band that has been on Spark’s Radar for a while after being championed by Steve Lamacq on 6 Music as ones to watch and wow did they live up to their reputation. The best songs of their set were Birds and Checking out, with birds being their own take on a Ben Howard like sound which really brought the crowd on side as the reminder of the set consisted of various chirping like sounds from the audience. Checking out is a more anthemic like sound that while sounded brilliant live, it rather missed the piano that is very apparent on the record. Overall though it was well worth finally seeing a band that are carving out their own individual sound and musical journey.

Self Esteem

Image ID: 2RDKPMN Gateshead, UK, 21.07.23—Self Esteem performs with Royal Northern Sinfonia at Sage Gateshead as part of BBC Proms Credit:Thomas Jackson / Alamy Stock Photo

Having seen Self esteem on her tour at the Sage back in March, The sinfonic concert was announced with high expectations as it was seen as being the ultimate enhancement to what was already a masterpiece of an alternative pop act. Within two minutes of her first song I found tears were already flowing in awe of the emotion that was added with the use of various strings such as the violins.

The highlight of the set was a church like crowd singing of prioritise pleasure and I do this all the time which proves that Self esteem is more than just music, she is at the fore front of a movement that is more open about mental health and critical of societal pressures.  Another highlight was her cover of George Michael’s song Praying for time, which silenced the crowd and raised hairs in a poignant moment.

Overall this was a set to remember and delivered a memorable impact which left the audience feeling like they were in a room of like minded people, who all embraced her message.


If you want to hear the set  it will be on BBC sounds for 30 days from the 24th of July 2023

Did you see self esteem live? Tweet us @Spark_Sunderland

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