Fizz: Abba irresistibly meets ELO (with a dash of CBeebies)

Dodie and Martin Brown of Fizz perform at the O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire
Dodie and Martin Brown of Fizz perform at the O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire - Lorne Thomson/Redferns

There’s a new breed of band in town: female-led, extrovert, whimsical, romantic, musically eclectic, into fancy dress… and the polar opposite of the po-faced acoustic singer-songwriters who’ve dominated the charts for years. To the all-conquering The Last Dinner Party and Brighton quartet The New Eves we can add Fizz, a London four-piece whose sold out show at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire combined explosive energy, visual flamboyance and tunes that sat somewhere between the Electric Light Orchestra, Abba, Wings, Queen and a CBeebies musical montage.

Fizz are something of an indie supergroup, comprising four pre-established solo artists: Orla Gartland, Greta Isaac, Dorothy Clark (Dodie) and Martin Brown, a male outlier in the new Brit-baroque movement. Their debut album The Secret to Life was released last October, and their single of the same name has just been added to Radio 1’s playlist.

Their stage was set with giant lollipops and mushrooms against a backdrop evoking Willy Wonka-like utopia. Backed by supplementary musicians dressed as Super Mario brothers, the band swapped lead vocal duties. Hell of a Ride and As Good as it Gets combined sleazy distorted guitars with soaring choruses and already sounded like festival anthems. The ballads You, Me, Lonely and Lonely Bones (originally a Dodie solo track) highlighted the band’s harmonic chops. Dodie’s occasional clarinet playing added an unexpected dimension to the songs. Throughout, the audience knew every word, every handclap, every harmony (their word-perfect rendition of ELO’s 1977 hit Mr Blue Sky before the band came on spoke volumes about Gen Z’s current influences).

This scene is about being seen. The crowd was peppered with so-called “citizens of Fizzville” – as hardcore fans are known ­– wearing corsetry, fairy wings, ribbons in their hair and doll or glam make-up (one fan at the front appeared to be wearing a pig’s snout while a person at the back was singing his heart out dressed as Father Christmas). There was almost a K-Pop cosplay vibe. “The whole point is to be uncool,” Brown told me afterwards, although there’s a fine line between cool and uncool, and Fizz’s brand of uncool is of the slightly knowing, mulleted, so-uncool-it’s-cool variety.

Still, I have a theory about why Fizz and The Last Dinner Party (and their growing legion of fans) have embraced radical whimsy with such vigour. It’s a reaction against lockdown. Months cooped up with just a screen for company fomented a desire for extreme escapism and visceral real-life playfulness: expect more of this from bands. This outlook seemed to be confirmed in Fizz’s opening track, the rabble-rousing High in Brighton. “I wanna get out of my room/ It’s so boring… I want to escape my real life,” they sang. Father Christmas and 1,999 others heartily agreed.

Personally, I’d have slightly dialled down the day-glo cutesy K-Pop aesthetics and dialled up the music’s volcanic scuzziness. Less arcade, more fire. But Fizz are a gang to watch. They’ll hold you up and rob you of your cynicism.


Until March 1. Tickets: yourfavebandfizz.com