Global neo-soul superstar Mahalia took to Manchester’s Gorilla fully armed with the energy of Erykah Badu and Lauren Hill at last night’s smaller than usual show. Channelling her fore-sisters of soul, the Leicester born singer filled the room with love and plenty of heartwarming anecdotes of acceptance and understanding for those who, like her, have struggled greatly with mental health problems.
Once the star took to the stage, it was apparent she was thrilled to be back in the rainy city, commenting almost instantly on how much she was in love with everyone at the gig. Starting with her loner anthem ‘Do Not Disturb’, Mahalia was visibly restricted by the size of the stage, at one point funnily remarking “obviously I haven’t played a stage this small in years so I can’t do all my moves, but I’ll give it my best”.
And give it her best she did, as she boogied her way through 60 minutes of funky basslines, acapella intros and time signature remixed breakdowns. However, Mahalia wasn’t the only one who took to the stage and sang about bad boys and bad company. During the midpoint of the show, a conversation broke out between a girl on the front row and the headliner, resulting in the young fan leading the band and singing ‘Jealous’, with almost pre-rehearsed perfection.
As the show progressed further the 23-year-old often took breaks between music to tell anecdotes of her journey through her relationships in a refreshingly candid manner. Stories of childhood holiday romances and cheating exes eventually progressed to the singer talking about much more uncomfortably important topics.
Promotion of female body positivity and social media breaks were just the start of a ten-minute lecture she gave about greater ways to improve one’s mental health. It all collimated in her talking about her male friends that were lost to mental health, saying “women we know what to do already, we already talk to each other and cry, check up on our boys”. The show then ended with fan favourite “I Wish I Missed My Ex”, sizzling a gust of emotional warmth into the already boiling venue.
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Written by: Mason Meyers