Supporting Billy Lockett on his 2020 UK tour, Mabes, an English singer/songwriter from Essex, took to The Glee Club’s stage last night in her knee-high snakeskin boots. With a guitar in hand and heart-warming honesty, her folk-country music set the tone for the evening.
It was clear that everyone was keen to hear emotional, compelling music and Mabes provided just that
Having never been to The Glee Club for a gig, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the space, the seated layout creating a very laid-back atmosphere. The audience was diverse, ranging from families to middle-aged couples to students; nevertheless, it was clear that everyone was keen to hear emotional, compelling music and Mabes provided just that. Although seeming a little nervous at first, she soon took control of the stage, her stripped back acoustic set bringing a range of styles that conveyed both her sass and powerful voice and her music’s more gentle, evocative nature.
Her first song ‘Radio’ immediately reminded me of KT Tunstall’s music combined with a Lily Allen-esque vibe, its rhythm and catchy lyrics setting a high standard for the rest of her act. As Mabes explained, ‘Radio’ deliberated the widely relatable theme of exes you want to forget, introducing her honest song-writing process. What made her set both engaging and memorable was the way she interspersed these personal stories throughout her performance, each song written off the back of very real experiences. By sharing these sources of inspiration, she bridged the gap between herself and the audience, her humility increasing the emotion of her performance and its highly positive response.
‘Gone’ showcased her smooth vocals, delicate guitar picks and thoughtful lyrics
From her latest album Wait & See, released in December 2019, Mabes performed ‘Gone’ and title track ‘Wait & See’. A soothing yet melancholic song, ‘Gone’ showcased her smooth vocals, delicate guitar picks and thoughtful lyrics, with Mabes clearly relaxing into the performance and connecting with the music. ‘Wait & See’ equally highlighted Mabes’ talents but offered a more hopeful tune that reminded me of Kacey Musgroves’ music, the lyric “Just wait and see what the morning can do” being particularly poignant.
“If ‘Slow Drowning’ is indicative of all of her new music then I have high hopes for her upcoming releases”
The song that stood out most for me was ‘Slow Drowning’. Mabes seemed to really light up and come into her own whilst performing this track, the bridge showing off the lower end of her vocal range and the chorus letting her bold and powerful voice take control. Catchy and strangely uplifting, this was definitely my favourite track that she performed. If ‘Slow Drowning’ is indicative of all of her new music then I have high hopes for her upcoming releases.
Mabes’ penultimate song ‘Keeping the Noise Down’ conveyed her reflective lyrical skills; her style, tone and charm being reminiscent of singer/songwriter Maisy Peters. ‘Pocket Full of Dreams’ enhanced this comparison, ending her set on a quirky and positive note that really encapsulated her performance.
“This up and coming artist is one to watch”
Although the venue wasn’t packed out, the audience gave Mabes a great reception, responding very positively to each song. Her performance showcased both her wide range of styles and her musical strengths whilst capturing her lovable personality. With just over 750,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, this up and coming artist is one to watch: Mabes’ honesty, thoughtful lyrics and engaging music creating a thoroughly enjoyable performance.
Featured image courtesy of Katie Moncur. Image use license found here.
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