Review: Emma Blackery Owns The Stage at Manchester Academy

  • Rising pop star ends her European Tour at Manchester Academy
  • Tour follows the release of successful album 'Villains'
  • Emma Blackery started out making YouTube videos in her bedroom




No longer just the girl who makes videos in her bedroom, Youtuber, turned pop star Emma Blackery owned the stage on Saturday night at the Manchester Academy, following the release of her latest album ‘Villains’.

As I made my way to the venue it was clear that there was a sense of excitement in the air as dedicated fans braved the wind and rain they lined Manchester’s Oxford Road. Looking through the crowds it struck me that I was surrounded by people from all walks of life, young and old, punks and parents, the list goes on and I had to admire Blackery for her ability to bring all these people together.

The queue starts to move and pretty soon we are inside the venue, heading straight to the bar (which thankfully was pretty empty as it seems the majority of the crowd could not legally drink yet). Once my gin glass – well, plastic cup, had been filled I made my way towards the stage, which was quickly filling up.

It’s true that when you are excited about something time seems to slow down, after two support acts and an intermission, it was the moment we’d all been waiting for, Emma Blackery’s return to the stage.


Tearing onto the stage in a leather skirt and black crop top, she looks as fierce as she sounds, embodying female empowerment as she belts out the lyrics to her opening song ‘Villain l’. The black and red lights shine down onto the stage as Blackery dances with such force and passion that is paralleled by her audience, you can feel the energy radiating through the crowd as she delivers lyrics that resonate with everyone in the room.

The album tells the story of a woman who is unapologetically herself, Blackery is a performer who is nothing less than genuine as she states, somewhat explicitly in her song ‘Burn the Witch’ “I’m a liar, I’m a b***h and I’m petty as hell but at least I admit it” Watching Blackery own the stage it’s hard to believe that this is the same woman who, just a few years ago, was feeling lost and unsure about her future in the industry.

The hour and a half set rightly focused on Villains “This album has been a lifelong dream of mine” Blackery told us as she takes a well-deserved break to catch her breath “I cried the day it came out”

Much to the pleasure of the audience some of Blackery’s earlier songs made it onto the set list, including fan favourite ‘Human Behaviour’, dedicating the song to the victims of the Manchester attack. As Blackery sang the arena lit up as everyone in the venue shone their phones, it was during this performance that I witnessed one of the most beautiful scenes I have ever seen at a concert, as the lyric “You’ll heal over in time” rang throughout the room, 22 pieces of paper were held into the air, 22 Manchester bees. Everyone in the room, including Blackery, was moved to tears.

When you’re in the Youtube community, it can be difficult to be taken seriously as anything other than a youtuber, often being branded as a one trick pony. Well, in true Blackery style, she has taken that idea and given it the middle finger. Villains, her most successful album to date, debuting at 24 in UK charts has thrust her head first into the world of music. It’s safe to say that Emma Blackery is a musician, an artist, an inspiration, who will continue to flourish in her ever expanding career.