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Chappell Roan at Heaven, London review: ‘The rise and rise of a midwest princess’ 

"Bedazzled and rhinestoned with queer joy"

By Brian Leonard

(Images: Sophie Scott/@soapscott)
Chappell Roan on stage at Heaven in London (Images: Sophie Scott/@soapscott)

“How iconic to be in an iconic gay venue!” Chappell Roan bounds onto stage at Heaven. With two sold-out London shows under her belt, it’s evident that there are bigger stages to come.

Support comes from Bones and Inga Rock, two hometown drag queens. Chappell makes a point of showcasing local drag talent at her shows on this tour and encourages the crowd to tip them where possible. It’s a poignant touch tonight, with Heaven’s sister LGBTQ+ space closing for the last time little over 48 hours later.

Chappell kicks off the show launching into the roaring energy of ‘Femininomenon’ and break out track ‘Red Wine Supernova’. It’s a memorable moment for her. “This is giving leading youth worship!” she giggles. 

(Images: Sophie Scott/@soapscott)

‘Supernova’ is fitting for Roan, the show feels as if she’s laying the foundations to be a superstar. Chappell’s debut album ‘The Rise & Fall Of A Midwest Princess’ is a heady mix of glamourous, melodramatic electro and Gen-Z self aware existentialism; dark pop for the girls, gays and theys. 

There’s an raw and infectious queer energy in the room, reminiscent of early shows from the likes of Lady Gaga, which is cemented as she flawlessly delivers a rendition ‘Bad Romance’, complete with choreography from its infamous 2009 music video. She is equally comfortable with leading a crowd too, with the indie-pop banger ‘HOT TO GO!’ carrying its own choreography that the entire room masters. 

(Images: Sophie Scott/@soapscott)

‘Can we turn the disco ball on?!’ Chappell screams. Between the high energy of ‘Super Graphic Ultra Modern Girl’ and sad-banger ‘My Kink is Karma’, she shares moments of intimacy, revealing her lived ‘weird rules’ and experiences of being a queer teenager in a small town in North America. “You can’t wear red lipstick on a first date”, “You can’t have sex until the third date, or even marriage.” It’s a hymn sheet every person in the crowd can also sing from, and it’s a ‘delulu’ sadness peppered through the entire album, but that’s defiantly shaken off.

The silky and sultry ‘California’ and joyful synth-pop of ‘Pink Pony Club’ close a celebratory show bedazzled and rhinestoned with queer joy. Is this Chappell’s audition to be a Main Pop Girlie? Is that delulu? Hell no, this Midwest Princess is ready for a crown.