Gabrielle: Under My Skin Tour Review | Bridgewater Hall | Manchester
Harkening back to her soulful roots, the pioneering female artist Gabrielle is in Manchester with the release of her new album Under My Skin. 26 years since debuting her chart-topping single Dreams (1993), the Hackney born songstress has mixed her smooth vocals to build an eclectic album collection that is uncovered during her latest tour.
With 80’s pop influences including Culture Club, Duran Duran and Wham! serving to shape the Platinum-selling singer’s creativity, Gabrielle’s long-spanning career hooks audiences with her own classic soul collection of timeless tracks. Original and ambitious with her music and image, Louisa Gabrielle Bobb’s sixth studio album is delivered 11 years from the release of her fifth, with a break that the Mobo and Brit award winner has used to reflect on. The new album includes relatable songs Thank You, Show Me and Every Step, that weaves a similar connecting message to her debut, Find Your Way (1993).
Focusing on themes of love, life and encouragement, the minimalist production places emphasis on the artist's lyrical storytelling that pauses for mini interludes of information regarding the making of the tracks and her gratitude to the packed crowd. Despite a decade passing, the emotional draw of Gabrielle’s music still holds her fans, making the intimate Bridgewater Hall concert the perfect stop off for the tours handpicked section of songs. Played alongside a live four-piece band and accompanied by two female backing vocalists, Gabrielle mixes her classics with unexpected pop and R&B supporting acts.
The young 2012 X-Factor runner up, Jahméne Douglas complemented Gabrielle’s R&B style with a note-holding selection of tracks. After opening with the pop artist AMiR, whose Michael Jackson inspired moves to his track Stolen brought an unexpected layer of charm to the concert, Jahméne continued with his belting vocals. Performing his singles Forever and Eternity and Love from his second album, Love Never Fails (2013) alongside covers of Saving All My Love For You and At Last, the supporting acts kept the atmosphere relaxed and upbeat, until it was time for the main event.
After warming up the crowd Gabrielle performed her hits Out of Reach, that was used in the film Bridget Jones Diary, Dreams and Sunshine. The British staple shows a powerful vulnerability with a natural ease to her performance. Under My Skin continues to bring audiences the quiet, underestimated hits that Gabrielle is known for. With a universal appeal, her unguarded songwriting will definitely have the audience resurface her body of work when then they get home.