I first came across Reb Fountain through her breathtaking mash up of controversial song ‘Blurred Lines’ by Robin Thicke and Pharrell williams, and Nirvanas ‘Rape Me’. Since canceled due to lyrics that clearly undermine sexual consent, ‘Blurred Lines’ was a hit song in the early teen. Rebs' cover of the track is extremely powerful and exposes the themes of the song with pungent clarity, since then, I've been slowly navigating through her extensive discography.

Kiwi Reb Fountain is a pioneer in New Zelands growing alternative folk scene, and you can clearly hear the influence of peers Aldous Harding and Delaney Davidson in her work. Already a rock legend in Oceania, Fountain has won a handful of awards and toured with the likes of Crowded House and Nick Cave. With folk stead-fast rising in trendiness again thanks in part to Taylor Swift, now feels the perfect cultural climate for Rebs unique sound to make waves in the UK music scene. If her gig on the 15th of November is anything to go by, she is not one to sleep on.

The Water Rats back room, where Reb was performing as her first headline UK show, was packed wall to wall with friendly music lovers of all ages. My dad, who I brought along for the evening, was relieved that this was not just another North London gig for people in their twenties. It’s a lively and unique venue, with a lighting system you would expect to find at somewhere like the Roundhouse, not a pub in camden. When Reb came on, the room erupted with noise, her superstar status in New Zealand reinforced by the crowd. Whilst this was her first headline show in London, it was instantly clear this wasn’t Rebs first rodeo.

Her set spanned all of her work, generously playing the clear crowd favourites alongside songs from her most recent album ‘Iris’. From this 2021 release ‘Beastie’ was a personal highlight, sensual and crooning, her mesmerizing vocals were even more haunting live. The song has intense themes, using ‘beastie’ as a device to question societies constant attempts to other and dehumanize people, but still manages to remain upbeat and catchy. As Reb herself rocked back and forward to the rolling drums, slowly swishing her shaggy do in time to the beat, it was impossible not to find yourself swaying along too.

Fountain's stage presence was impeccable throughout her performance. Refusing to stand still, she was either waltzing up and down the stage, crouched down, or even amongst the crowd at any moment. The evening ended with the cathartic ‘Don’t you know who I am’, from her 2020 album, clearly the song many had been waiting to hear. Accompanied by relentless drums and raw guitar, she screamed the chorus, jumping up and down with truly infectious energy that vibrated throughout the room.

Reb Fountain is more than an alternative folk artist. She spans pop, alt rock, punk and new wave, and has the ability to get the whole room moving with ease. Pair this with a decked out London venue and a lovely bunch of music fans, and you’re left with an evening to remember.