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Live: MAHALIA // Northcote Social Club, Melbourne

The Northcote Social Club took it upon themselves to host a night with Leicester born, London based Mahalia last week and the intimate sold out show definitely impressed.

The room filled fairly quickly and as the chatter started to fill, you could feel the atmosphere build. As she arrived on stage, Mahalia greeted the audience with the biggest grin you could imagine. Starting things off with No Pressure, with her sultry laid back beats and heavenly vocals. She could have finished there, and we would be complete. But thankfully she didn’t.

“Sorry guys, you make good content!”, she announced heading into an anthem of sorts in One Night Only. She moved across the stage with effortlessness and a whole lot of soul. From the very beginning the crowd was singing along to every word, they turned into the unofficial backing vocals throughout the whole set.

She wasn’t shy of a chat, which is always appreciated. Braking down each track with a back story and some context. Opening up to make the show feel even that more intimate.

“With this EP I was trying to show people, all you guys, five different seasons of myself in relationship. And this next one is the nice season.  This is my season of love. This is Honeymoon.” Dedicating it to Charlie, her guitar player who recently got engaged.

Things started to move in the crowd with the blissful tune that has come from her latest EP, Seasons. It lifted spirits and feet as the crowd got into the tempo of the glistening tune there was a moment of euphoria amongst the group.

Shout outs to guitars passed, Marley, trying to tame a chatty crowd that eventually let her have her shining moment and due to the high temperatures a scary moment with a patron in the crowd. She was constantly a true professional throughout and showed her true artistry. Picking up the guitar and showing her routes.

“I wanted to say to my classmates and to my friends, I can’t dim my light because you’re not able to brighten yours basically. So if I could say anything to your guys, don’t give a fuck what anyone else thinks. This is called Seventeen“. The track from 2016, a hit in the crowd looking up at her in more ways than one.

Things were taken down a notch with a cover from Rihanna and Drake’s Work, “It’s a tiny bit slower and a little different. Sing along and do whatever you want to do”. And what a truly stunning rendition of the massive track it was. Making it her own and showing her epic vocal range.

A moment that shook the Northcote Social Club and it’s patrons in their tracks was a spoken word piece Back Up Plan. You could hear a pin drop, if it did. It displayed her talent in capturing and creating an engrossing narrative. It was the ideal time to take a moment and step back because things were starting to wind down or wind up.

Hold On with its pop elements had everyone taking the opportunity to move. “This is my moment to dance, so if you want to dance, dance! No one ever dances and it gets awkward.”

“This song, in short the song that changed my life.” One of her most noteworthy tunes, was what she was referring and that song is called Sober. Full of heart, you can’t deny that it is an amazing pop tune. And in the live format, it came to life and inhaled by all.

“I’m so not an encore girl, I just don’t get it. You know I’m coming back cause I haven’t played the songs you want.” There was one more song we were waiting for. And this song she was speaking of was I Wish I Missed My Ex which came about when she was 12 and her crush who ended up coming back together briefly as adult. One for fairy-tales, this story. And it made quite the conclusion to an already sublime set.

As if the temperatures couldn’t get any higher in the blistering Australian summer, Mahalia took it to new heights. We could have easily stayed there all night, but all good things must come to an end. As her star continues to shine in 2019 and beyond, I’m sure the crowd at that show will hold onto that unique moment for a very long time.

Photos: Liz Stephens