Betty Who Slays at First Avenue’s Mainroom

Last updated on March 28th, 2023 at 07:54 pm

Wednesday evening, First Avenue welcomed Australia-born singer-songwriter Betty Who (Jessica Anne Newham) with a packed house of fabulous fans ready to move, shake, and celebrate her BIG! Tour. This one was a hump day for the books.

This was my first time experiencing Betty Who live. Walking into the Mainroom, I felt underdressed as I was immediately met with a sea of multi-color suits, sequins, and blazers. Squeals of excitement and vodka sodas in full force, I could already feel the queer joy.

Betty Who raises a fist and shouts to the First Avenue crowd
Photo by – Kathleen Ambre

The crowd went wild when Betty took the stage in her red three-piece suit. Accompanied by two explosive backup dancers, a guitarist, and a drummer, she kicked off the night with the sexually-charged dance anthem “Weekend,” followed by “She Can Dance,” a shoutout to the heyday of MTV with its warm, crunchy synths.

Betty Who "raises the roof" while one of her dancers points to her
Photo by – Kathleen Ambre

The venue quickly evolved into a modern disco dance party full of explosive choreographed movement, brilliant flashes of color, and infectious joy. For all we knew, it was the weekend.

Wide-angle shot of the First Avenue stage with Betty Who and her band
Photo by – Kathleen Ambre

Betty kept up the high energy, highlighting songs from her new album while mixing in some oldies like “Human Touch” for her tenured fans. She then slowed things down on the keyboard for her album’s title track, a beautiful homage to loving who you are.

Backlit silhouettes of Betty Who on keyboards next to her drummer
Photo by – Kathleen Ambre

Mid-set, Betty took her traditional walk into the audience to play “Wanna Be” on guitar, met by a celestial cloud of cell phone lights surrounding her. She flashed a smile visible from the farthest corner of the second-floor balcony.

Closeup of Betty Who on acoustic guitar surrounded by fans
Photo by – Kathleen Ambre

The main set closed with older numbers of “High Society” and the pride anthem “Somebody Loves You.” The room lit up in rainbow colors as everyone sang along. The night ended with her blissfully sweet cover of Donna Lewis’s “I Love You Always Forever,” and everyone left feeling a little more loved than when they came in.

Betty Who and one of her dancers engage with the crowd
Photo by – Kathleen Ambre

Last night, Minneapolis met a more confident Betty Who than ever before, cementing her status as a queer pop phenomenon. Two and a half years in the making, her new album BIG! is a welcome reminder that she hasn’t lost her flair for crafting a catchy, infectious pop song.

Shot of the First Avenue crowd for the Betty Who performance
Photo by – Kathleen Ambre

If you haven’t heard of Betty Who, bitch, you better look her up. And treat yourself to a badass blazer while you’re at it.

Betty Who waves the "peace" symbol to the First Avenue crowd, framed by her dancers
Photo by – Kathleen Ambre

Written by Kathleen Ambre

Photographer | Designer | Writer | Chronic Creator


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