Live Zone

Griff / Cxloe, 02 Institute, Birmingham, 31st March 2024



Griff won this magazine’s deserved vote for Best EP of 2023, for her wonderful “vert1go vol. 1” (stylised title) released in October last year. The follow up, “vert1go vol. 2” is due to drop in a few days on 5th April.

The 23-year-old from Hertfordshire was in very fine form in Birmingham, at the sold out 1,500 capacity 02 Institute last night. Teasing brand new songs from the incoming new EP and of course, delivering her hits and fan fave tracks too.

The set list featured 17 songs, including “Astronaut” – a track that features Chris Martin – as the one-song encore, plus a snippet of Imogen’s Heap’s song “Hide and Seek” [to demonstrate what a vocoder does], and she sang a chorus of ‘happy birthday’ to a fan, Jasmine, in the crowd with circa 1,500 loud backing singers.

The unreleased “Hole In My Pocket”, “Pillow In My Arms” and Cycles” from the next EP meant the crowd were not singing along or keeping up the energy, and politely listened to the new material with interest.

To warm up the crowd, Australian artist Cxloe [correct spelling] and her drummer Darryl – plus backing tracks – did an excellent job for their half hour set, her first tour in the UK, and she got a pretty full room and warm response. A kind of mix between Griff’s sound and the band Against The Current, perhaps.

Two hours after doors open, here we are at bang on 9pm and here comes Sarah Faith Griffiths, aka Griff. For me she is not given the credit and coverage that a lot of her contemporaries are, and for me, this artist’s songwriting chops are top notch. Her vocals world class. I’d put her in the same division of the likes of Raye. Sincerely.

The penultimate show of this six-date tour, which kicked off in Bournemouth eight days ago, and calls in to Dublin, Manchester, Glasgow, here in Birmingham on Easter Sunday and closes at the 3,000 capacity Roundhouse in London on Tuesday 5th April. Griff has already turned in eight shows across Europe ahead of these UK and Irish gigs.

A young crowd in tonight, plus some mums and dads chaperoning their offspring and seemingly by the reaction, enjoying Griff’s performance themselves. Griff accompanied by a keyboard player and drummer on this tour, opens the set at the top of yellow step ladders, paint spraying the date and the city on the backdrop, as she does on every date on the tour apparently. Griffiti artist!

I loved her ‘bo-ho’ dress; which seemed to change colour with the lights. A strong start with the first three songs: “Black Hole”, “Walk”, and the title track of her debut 2021 mixtape, “One Foot In Front Of The Other” which peaked at # four in the UK chart.

A spot of crowd participation on song # four: “Head On Fire” where the arms are in the air swaying from side to side and the fans are clapping along. Next up, “One Night” and then “Shade Of Yellow”, after which Griff goes into the crowd onto a tiny platform “B Stage”, accompanying herself on acoustic guitar.

The room is silent, there is a huge emotional swell and you can feel it. Everyone is totally transfixed. Most just listen, some grab a shot or video on their mobiles. She stays for two songs, “Earl Grey Tea” and “So Fast.”  Maybe one song too many from that spot, draining the room of its energy from the fans somewhat.

Cxloe – Superb support act

Before getting back on to the stage, Griff takes a selfie with a fan’s phone, a sweet moment. Back on stage after “So Fast”, she plays piano on “Good Stuff”, and as her keyboard man gets back onto his stool, Griff signs a fan’s vinyl record.

Then it is the “happy birthday” moment to Jasmine before “Into The walls” and “19th Hour”, and then she’s back at the piano for “Hole In My Pocket”, an unreleased track from “Vertigo Vol 2”.

“Cycles”, which has an uptempo dance vibe to it, is the third in a row of her new unreleased songs from the imminent EP, before one of the best songs of the night, “Miss Me Too”.

The fans were mostly into the stuff they know, especially “Head On Fire”, “Walk”, the brilliant “Vertigo” [a song which Taylor Swift told her 271 million followers on Instagram that she “loved”] and “19th Hour”, and they were quite subdued for the new stuff being heard for the first time.

Mobile ‘phone shot


Griffiti artist!

This was a classy performance from a gifted rising star, who is still to release a proper full album; after two EPs, a third EP on its way and the mixtape.

Not to forget her skills as a songwriter; Griff’s star very much on the ascent and she deserves to be respected, and spoken about in the same breath as Raye et al.


Words: Emma Ledwell

Photos: Andrea Bottino




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