When we heard a distant chanting of ‘Poe, Poe, Poe’, we figured we were in the right place for Luke Black’s concert. As we turned the corner of a side street to see someone in head-to-toe lobster gear, we knew for sure.
Six weeks on from his performance of Samo Mi Se Spava in May’s Grand final, the Serbian star hosted his debut show “Sleep Forever: Round 1” at the Amazing Grace in London. The show sold out straight away, a testament to the powerful community of dedicated fans we would go on to spend the night with.
As someone who has attended many Eurovision artists’ concerts, I have never seen an audience like this one. Firstly, they were far younger than I expected. Perhaps I need to reassess my idea of what the stereotypical Eurovision fan looks like, but as a 22 year-old I’m used to being among the youngest in the crowd – here, I was one of the oldest! They were also dressed up in all kinds of cool and crazy outfits, incorperating Luke’s signature lobster on t-shirts, bags and even fascinators. They were full of an energy and excitement unlike any crowd I had been a part of, and it was infectious. When Luke entered the stage after several hours of support acts and intermittent Eurovision songs – in case you were wondering, Käärijä’s Cha Cha Cha is still getting the biggest crowd reaction – they erupted with noise, and I knew I was in for a show.
The venue for the evening – a converted chapel in London Bridge – perfectly suited Luke’s Gothic glamour aesthetic. As he performed, projections of starry skies and haunted houses shadowed behind him, adding to the spooky ambience. If you haven’t heard any of his tracks outside of his 2023 entry, you can expect them to share a very similar vibe: dark electro-pop infused with catchy synths and riffs. The crowd went particularly wild for Amsterdam, a song that begins as an eerie lullably and builds to a lively dubstep chorus. Another highlight was an acoustic version of Samo Mi Se Spava, played by Luke on the piano and supported by his guitarist. The iconic motif of the song was given an entirely different feel when on electric guitar – somehow (if it is at all possible) cooler and edgier than the original. Naturally the final song of the night was Samo Mi Se Spava as we know it and love it, and it was great to see live again. Despite a disappointing 24th place finish – which Luke was in great spirits about, poking fun at himself throughout the night – it was clear that he was very much still in love with his track. His performance was as energetic and enigmatic as it was when we first saw it in Pesma za Evroviziju, and a fantastic end to the show.
By the end of the evening, I understood why the many young fans felt drawn to Luke Black as an artist. His unique sense of style and strangeness speaks to queer youngsters who are figuring themselves out, and seeking to find their community. He represents everything I love about Eurovision as a phenomenon: the bringing of people together to enjoy weird and wonderful music. I’m now more excited than ever to see where Luke Black’s undoubtedly bright future will take him.
Love Luke Black? Revisit his Grand Final performance below!