Photography & Review: Glenn Rossington.
Being the front woman of one of the UK’s most exciting Nu-wave Punk bands (Hands off Gretel) tonight was set to be an inspiring evening as Delilah Bon – the alter ego of Lauren Tate – kicks off her first ever solo tour in the Midlands’ Capital. Having released her debut singles during the Pandemic, followed by a stunning ‘Self-Titled’ debut album, there is certainly an air of excitement and anticipation tonight in the small and intimate room.
Storm St Clare open the evening with a set that is raging with energy. Admittedly, due to traffic we entered the room as the last song of the set was being played, but it seemed that they caught the attention of those in attendance. Next up is Alt Blk Era who provide an in-your-face set that again captivates the now filled room, gets some bouncing along with them and by the end, seem to have won over an army of new fans.
As the stage is set for Delilah’s performance, it is interesting to note her set up. A small DJ booth, a Bass, and a pink chair emblazened with chains, nails, fake blood and the word “die” written in silver ink. The anticipation for what is to come has certainly peaked.
DJ Tasmin Taylor and Bassist Ruena arrive on stage and crunch into a riff-heavy metal/hip hop fusion jam before Delilah comes on bounding full of smiles and energy as they launch straight in to ‘Freak of the Week’. What follows is incredible. I do not even think I will be able to do this review justice as I am still awash with many questions and am reeling with the emotions that I felt from this performance.
Delilah is not shy in her passions and is full of support for the ladies in the audience as well as individuals from the LGBQT community. Tonight, she declares that her shows are a “safe space” for everyone to feel free and enjoy. ‘Where My Girls At?’ and ‘War on Women’ emphasise this. With the majority of the audience at the foot of the stage being in these genres, she is happy to interact and lean into the crowd as she prowls the stage throughout the show. There are even a couple of moments when she also steps into the audience to get up close and in the faces of her admirers.
One thing is clear throughout the set, and that is her distrust in men. Not necessarily those in attendance, but those who commit atrocious crimes against the opposite sex which happen all too often on an almost seemingly daily basis. ‘Chop Dicks’ and ‘Rat Boy’ cutting the subject very on point lyrically whilst mixed in with a vibrant hybrid of brat-hop metal that is refreshing.
In one of many moments during the show that she engages with the audience, she tells us that it was never her intention to take this music on the road, it was more of an experiment to push herself creatively as an artist, even surprising herself with her insane ability to rap. However, it was the message within her lyrics that resonated with her army of fans that gave the encouragement and inspiration to bring the album to tour.
Throughout the rest of the set, we get everything. Killer beats, mad mixing skills from Tasmin Taylor, stunning hair flicks from the energetic Ruena and even synchronised dances from all three ladies, the latter is like watching a punky metal version of Self Esteem which is enduring in its own right. ‘Chiquitita’, ‘Homework’, ‘Ready To Kill’ and ‘Devil’ are stunning examples of her incredible witty and poignant lyricism.
There are theatrics done in a typical “Delilah Bon” style as well. She performs with a barbed wire baseball bat during ‘Clown’, a bubble gun during ‘Bad Attitude’, and even an axe during ‘Cannibal Summer’ – which according to the setlist on stage – would potentially have had a volunteer from the audience which we assume would have been subject to the axe whilst sat on the aforementioned pink chair.
Kudos also goes to the track ‘Godzilla’, a reworking of the Eminem track that sees Bon spit the lyrics out with incredible force. This segues in to ‘Horror’ as the set comes to a close and the band leave the stage – well Delilah and Ruena do, Tasmin Taylor squats behind the DJ booth until the encore begins.
Returning to the stage we get a feisty ‘I Don’t Listen To You’, but the final crowning moment amongst the anarchy of awesomeness is the final track. Written in response to the overturn of the ‘Freedom of Abortion’ ruling in the United States, the powerfully incredible ‘Dead Men Don’t Rape’ closes the set. The song is a vicious attack on that action and those men who made the decision. The track features Delilah in her shouty/screamy mode as she rages and demonstrates her anger and passion on the heartbreaking subject to an equally impassioned audience.
After thanking her adoring audience for being in attendance tonight, the band take a bow and leave the stage with smiles bigger than when they arrived. The audience seem blown away by the passion on display tonight. It was touching to see Delilah pick up her setlist and hand it to one of her younger fans on the front row. Also, having earlier dedicated ‘Red Dress’ to her Mum (who was on both Merch and Driving duties), it was so lovely to see her looking so proud as Delilah left the stage.
Delilah Bon is quite simply an incredible force to be reckoned with. If you are able to, I urge you now to buy a ticket to the remaining dates on the tour. You will be rewarded with a multitude of talent, incredible lyrics and will leave you asking questions as well as enjoying it.