It’s still early days for Diana DeBrito, the Manchester R&B artist who takes her stage name from her initials and repeats it in many of her songs. She’s at that slightly awkward stage where she has enough buzz and adoration to put on a sizeable show, but not enough experience to behave as though she belongs there.
On the back of a bronze medal in the BBC’s Sound of 2018 poll, but still operating independently, she put on this short tour with the support of Red Bull. Their investment meant a large curved video screen showing often beautiful animations, fireworks, confetti, red roses for fans at the door and – oh horror! – an audience dress code: all black here, white in Bristol and red in Birmingham.
DeBrito was less composed than her concept, rambling giddily and at great length between songs. She handed out drinks, gave the stage over to energetic rapper Nadia Rose for two tracks, and ended up performing just eight songs of her own in an hour.
They included the sci-fi rumblings of Conjuring – a dramatic intro – and a new one, XOX, that saw her demonstrating her lyrical skills to best effect as she slipped easily between smooth singing and faster lines.
Shade, her breakthrough song, sent an already rowdy crowd into overdrive with just three synth notes and a pile of attitude. Unsurprisingly, it earned a repeat airing.
With her stark electronics, ticking trap beats and striking vocal delivery, she showed why so much hype has surrounded her music this year. It’s just a shame she didn’t perform more of it.