25th November | Fleece
Photos: Naomi Williams
Anticipation for Mabel’s performance has been growing since August. After cancelling her initial tour due to illness, it felt like a long wait to see the youngest member of the Cherry kingdom perform her debut album High Expectations. But it wasn’t in vain. Full of vigour, sass and oozing female empowerment, Mabel strutted onto the stage in luminous green with a pop star quality that runs in her blood.
Accompanied by four incredible female backing dancers and a female DJ, the gig was about women and for women. Belting lyrics about independence, ignoring phone calls and going out with the girls, Mabel reflected Hot Girl Summer attitude. Hits from the new album like ‘Bad Behaviour’ reached a new level of liberation with the crowd. After years of male artists singing about apparently ‘psycho women’ it was rather beautiful to watch a room full of women reclaim the stereotype by yelling, “You know you can’t keep up;/With my bad behaviour.”
Mabel’s catchy pop songs and choreographed dances were, without a doubt, impressive. But it was performing her slower hits where she really shined. The dancers gone, and a singular spotlight on the stage, her vocals excelled. ‘Bedroom’ and ‘Take A Chance’, the songs that made her a household name, showcased her amazing range. Moving between her slower songs, she exposed her emotions with lyrics of rejection and heartbreak. Her struggles with anxiety were expressed in her song ‘OK’ as she told the audience, “It’s OK not to be OK.”
She rounded off the gig with pop anthems, ‘God’s a Dancer’, ‘My Lover’ and ‘Finders Keepers.’ Featured artist, Not3’s was missing, but did Mabel care? Absolutely not. She nailed the vocals, proving once again that she doesn’t need a man. Flicking her hair and holding hands with screaming front row fans, her confidence radiated. She left the stage and the crowd buzzing with an electricity that can only come from seeing a star.
Mabel’s ability to put on an energetic performance with unwavering vocals has made her one of the UK’s most beloved female artists. She’s up there with the likes of NAO, Dua Lipa, Jess Glynne – all strong women with incredible talent.
This tour is only the beginning for the 23-year-old. She’s released a new Christmas single, ‘Loneliest Time Of Year’ and will be performing at Capital’s Jingle Bell Ball in December. It’s going to be one very busy and, hopefully, very merry Christmas for Mabel McVey.
See the video for ‘God Is A Dancer’ here: