Preview: Betty Who Live
May 10-11, 2019 The Neptune in Seattle
May 12 @ The Wonder Ballroom in Portland
By Kym Buzdygon
“Who the fuck is Betty Who?”
That’s what her shirts say, and a few months ago I wouldn’t have been able to answer. Lucky for me, Betty Who (the stage name for Australian Jessica Anne Newman), was one of the headliners of Kesha’s “Wild and Wonderful Rainbow Cruise” in February (which, btw, was wild and wonderful and full of rainbows and glitter and naked people on a boat and if you weren’t there you definitely missed out).
On stage, Betty Who dances her way through energetic sets of pop perfection complete with lithe backup dancers and outfits that run the gamut from pin-up goth to spangly and sheer. In addition to being goddamn adorable, she has a confident, sparkling synth sound reminiscent of Robyn’s Body Talk. Betty Who just wants to make you dance, and she delivers with every song.
The artist’s latest album, Betty, dropped just before the cruise, which meant we had the pleasure of hearing some of her newest tracks live. When she performs two nights in Seattle on May 10-11, expect to hear some slinky, sexy tracks like “Language,” “Taste,” and “I Remember,” a playful ode to loving and being loved as you are. Her set also includes some full-on dance songs like “Just Thought You Should Know” and “The One,” Who’s tribute to 90’s boy bands.
“Between You & Me,” a tender love song about possibilities, became a particular favorite after I watched the music video approximately one million times. It’s an endearingly queer love story, with Betty Who playing both parts of a friendship becoming something more. (To great effect – she said in one interview that after watching the final take, she “can’t believe how much I wanted me to end up with myself.”)
Betty Who has multiple albums to draw material from (although Betty is her first independent release) and there’s plenty of fun stuff there, including “Mama Say” which has one of my favorite lines: “You know you love a pretty girl/With a twisted mind,” “High Society,” about day drinking and stylish living, and “Beautiful,” a collaboration with Superfruit, a musical and comedy duo featuring members of popular a cappella group Pentatonix. You can also count on hearing two of her biggest hits and fan favorites, “Somebody Loves You” and a lovely cover of the 90’s hit “I Love You Always Forever.”
So, if you don’t know who the fuck Betty Who is, go listen to Betty on Spotify, get your tickets for her shows at the Neptune on May 10 and 11 (or Portland’s Wonder Ballroom May 12), and be prepared to dance your pants off. You can thank me later.