“I’ve been here before and you can be loud when you wanna be,” Baltimore native Brittney Spencer tells the London crowd as she opens the performances on the main stage at BST in Hyde Park. “I was doing soundcheck and as soon as they opened the gate, I saw people running to the front, even though it was raining. I thought, ‘Hell yeah! It’s gonna be a good show’”.
And she’s right. Those sprinters at the front of the crowd, willing to spend eight hours crushed into a barrier for the sake of a front row spot for the day's headliner, Bruce Springsteen, may not have come for country music, but it’s what they got in spades. Accompanied by drummer Megan Jane and guitarist Gabe Burdulis, Brittney plays a sleek, six song set that will have impressed even the hardiest of Bruce's fans.
A relative newcomer, even in the country scene, Spencer had worked as a backing singer before going viral in 2020 with a cover of The Highwomen’s ‘Crowded Table’, catching the attention of the band before going on to become an honorary member. Performances at the CMA and ACM awards followed, as well as a coveted supporting spot for Jason Isbell.
In a week where she’s also opened for Willie Nelson, it’s no surprise to find her at her well-earned, empowered best. She opens with ‘Damn Right You’re Wrong’, singing “Time and time again I faked my song just to belong / You thought you had me figured out, oh well / Guess you were wrong / Damn right you’re wrong”.
It all builds to a lush performance of her gorgeous track ‘Sober & Skinny’, which devastates with its tale of a relationship that drives its participants to overeat and over-drink. It’s a fine showcase of her clever wordplay with lyrics like ‘You want me to shrink / I think we should talk to one’. She wisely throws in some recognisable covers, paying her respects to Britain’s musical heritage with a cover of The Beatles’ ‘Yesterday’, as well as a rendition of ‘These Boots Were Made For Walking’.
“The reason why I fell in love with country music is because of The Chicks,” she explains, paying reverence to the group who will be taking the stage later in the day, and with whom she has also accidentally coordinated outfits. Thousands of miles from Nashville, it might not be a literal homecoming, but as musical ones go, this one feels especially well deserved.
Brittney Spencer - Setlist
Take from her live performance at BST Hyde Park 2023, London, England - Saturday July 8, 2023:
For more on BST Hyde Park 2023, see below: