Artemas Live At Village Underground

Artemas headlined the Village Underground in Shoreditch on May 21st. The venue’s cavernous brick walls aggrandized the set’s brooding sultry ambiance. His otherwise electric performance was amplified by the presence of live musicians who accompanied him on stage. Off to a strong start, he opened with ur special to me

Performing a series of both new and old tracks, Artemas was in perfect sync with his guitarist and drummer. He played I’ll Make You Miss Me, cross my heart, tattoos, among other audience favourites. I noticed there were a lot of couples and young people in attendance, a nod to the swift rise to fame via TikTok. The boom of his most popular tracks exploded onto the stage, out of their digital origin. A few of which have amassed near 500 million total listens, only adding to his ongoing listenership of 50 million. 

Songs were played back to back at the show’s start, tracks near flowing together with sparse audience engagement initially. There was a direness to it, like the audience couldn’t wait for the next one so the performers just kept the energy up. An accompanying light show fluttered between greens, blues to purples and reds. Each seemed fine tuned to the content of the song – more sensual tracks were naturally paired with warmer tones. 

This sold out show was the final of The Pretty Mixtape tour. Tracks were layered heavy with dramatic baselines and loud drum beats. There was a somewhat ominous feel to the setlist. Like Artemas knew something you didn’t, but you’d find out over the course of the evening. Deep diving into vocals, Artemas would come back over and over to meet the audience’s gaze, with a quick “thank you” between songs. 

After the first selection of five-ish tracks, he became more talkative. I can imagine that ascension to stardom could be daunting as there’s a lot of work that goes into developing stage presence. Though this is true, he’s well on his way and certainly has the fan base to back it. 

His mysterious, hopeless romantic persona split temporarily when an audience member yelled out “I love you” to which he immediately replied, “I love you too!” A revelatory moment to witness – regarding his relationship to his fans. Lightbeams shone out of industrial metal structures with transparent curtains fluttering behind them, creating a desolate yet flirty impact on the environment.

Artemas played us an unreleased song and teased details about an upcoming mixtape. Toward the latter half of the show he switched his energy saying “now for the business part of the show”. That’s when he began performing a stripped down version of his most popular track, if u think i’m pretty. After about a minute he went straight into the fully produced version. You could feel the energy of the room shift – his fans were ready for it. 

Follow Artemas On Instagram

Photographer: Sophie Vaughan

Words: Lauren Bulla