PinkPantheress – Auckland Town Hall: Jan 10, 2023

PinkPantheress stalked the Auckland Town Hall this week and the 13th Floor’s Karen McCarthy was there and witnessed a phenomenon.

Days and days of rain and another soggy summer night, did not deter or dampen the enthusiasm of hundreds of young people who poured into the CBD, packing out this grand old Dame of venues to the rafters.

Seats removed, it was a dancefloor in the main hall, with punters also on their feet from the get-go in the seated upper level circle and balcony.

The cause of the commotion – the young woman known as Pink Pantheress. A breakout star from the UK, named BBC Radio’s ‘Sound of 2022”.

The former film student was born in Bath and grew up in Kent, and burst onto the scene about a year ago.

Casually making bedroom beats, after learning the basics of music production from her big brother, PP – either unwittingly or very astutely – harnessed the power of social media. Tik Tok became her playground.

Her clips and her music –  short, hooky sample-heavy tunes wrapped around and under her sweet, light vocals, blew up. Went viral. Prime material for the ravenous beast that is Tik Tok and its global audience, where memes and trends are repeated endlessly and reach millions upon millions of young people.

Evoking mid-2000s Lily Allen on the vocal front, some say FKA Twigs, Pink Pantheress makes a brand of pop rap with heavy heavy beats. There are nods to drum and bass, dub, 2-step garage, jungle, vaporwave. Samples chopped and screwed,  slowed down, and overlaid with her quirky lyrics about breakups, teen angst, the challenges of life as a young adult. It’s an appealing and intoxicating mix. Fast yet calming.

Her songs are super-catchy, appealing, danceable. Her sound nostalgic yet new. New and now.

Pink Pantheress has been described as sounding like something from the past, made in the future. She’s genre-defying. She has said her music is ‘whatever you want it to be.’

There is no doubt she has tapped into something with acute precision and timing. The hordes at Auckland Town Hall last night joyous evidence of that.

Fizzing with anticipation, they filled the venue early on. Revved up expertly and excitingly by support act ‘DJ Fine China’, one of the Katayanagi twins, the sea of dancing fans erupted in an almighty roar when Pink Pantheress slipped quietly onto the stage to start her set at 9.15pm.

No grand entrance. Hair up, dressed in an off-the-shoulder black number, with a handbag casually slung over her shoulder as if she’d just wandered into the town hall and onto the stage after an afternoon out shopping down the road.

Pink Pantheress sings, she grooves and moves across the stage – slightly self-consciously. She chats, intimate, meaningful banter with her adoring fans in between songs. Accepting gifts. Someone gave her a crystal. Snapping on-stage selfies with the crowd behind her. Leaning into the crowd to read messages held up on their smartphones. Making contact. Holy communion. The heaving mass, holding their shining smartphones aloft. She’s one of them. They could be her. It’s part of the appeal.

The bass is thunderous, the mood and music high energy, the vibe joyful and triumphant. PP’s vocals somewhat lost in the thumping music this night, but almost every song turns into a mass singalong anyway. The packed house knows every word to her hits which come thick and fast. ‘Passion’. ‘Pain’. ‘Break It Off’. ‘Boy’s A Liar’. ‘Nineteen’.

It was an R18 gig. Packed with young adults, most not much older or younger than the 22-year old on stage.

These Gen Zers, or Zoomers, are the first true digital native generation. Most do not remember life before smartphones. All have grown up with everyday access to streaming content and social media, deeply connected to technology.

PinkPantheress hit the bullseye with a Tik Tok algorithm when she started putting her bedroom disco out there. Her super-short songs reflective of her own short attention span, and that of her listeners.

When the young Brit blew up with her debut mixtape album To Hell With It in 2021, no song clocked in at more than 2 minutes 30 seconds. Ten songs, clocking in at under 20 minutes. Brief, genuine, authentic, connection.

Her set reflects that.

At 10pm, 45 minutes after PinkPantheress stepped on stage, she’s gone. It’s over. Short and sweet. But satisfying. No one feels short-changed. The fans are amped. They’ve danced their asses off. Chants of ‘one more song’ taper out. The night is young, but over. The beaming faces and spent bodies start filing out the doors, clutching phones and memories of a great gig.

Pink Pantheress promised them, more than once, that she’ll be back. So will they.

Karen McCarthy

Click on any image to view a photo gallery courtesy Baddies:


  1. Break It Off

2. Notice I Cried

3. Passion

4. Attracted To You

5. Reason

6. Picture In My Mind

6. Pain

7. I Must Apologise

8. Take Me Home

9. Nineteen

10. All My Friends Know

11. Last Valentines

12. Just For Me

13. Where You Are

14. Boy’s A Liar

15. Do You Miss Me

(No Encore)