LIVE REVIEW: Mabel @ Newcastle University Student Union (02.12.18) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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I shit thee nay, there’s something indelibly exquisite about Mabel McVey (better known by the mononym Mabel) – and no, it’s not her sultry charisma, or flutter-inducing smile for that matter.

To paraphrase the one and only Piano Man (that’s Mr. Billy Joel to you cheeky whippersnappers), this 22-year-old, twice MOBO-nominated popstar-on-the-rise has got a way about her – it’s a potently irresistible combo of sass and verve that’s more playful than snarky, and has the predominantly female crowd firmly in her corner right from the jump.

By the time she’s channelling wistful ‘90s R&B vibes over Thinking Of You’s breezy Sade-esque bop, there’s no denying that whatever that elusive je ne sais quoi known as “oomph” is, she’s got it in spades!

The way I see it, a huge part of McVey’s appeal rests on the twin facts that, despite being hailed as the vanguard in a crop of up-and-comers changing the face of British pop, she not only comes across as the exact polar opposite of pretentious, but also doesn’t take herself too seriously.

When you factor her impressively versatile range (by turns raspy, affectionate, velvety and childlike) and penchant for empowering lyrics into the equation, it’s really not hard to see why these revellers are spellbound by her every move – hell, even I’m awestruck during dancehall-adjacent set-closer Finders Keepers.

Big tings a gwaan fi di gyal in 2019 – watch this space!

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