6th November 2023
The enigmatic artist, going by the name of Shygirl, kicked off her ‘Nymph World Tour’ in London this December. I watched Shygirl in Albert Hall, Manchester on December 2, which was the second show of her tour.
This tour marks her debut full-length LP, Nymph, which was well received by critics and fans when it was released in September.
The Manchester performance was a riot. And Shygirl pulled it off with aplomb.
English singer Rose Gray made waves with her EP Synchronicity last year. Most of the fans at the auditorium were not familiar with Rose Gray’s music, much less the lyrics. Added to that, the sound quality was fuzzy so we could not make out the words sung by her. But Rose’s voice was undoubtedly beautiful and siren-like. Plus, she used the electronic drum in the climax of her show, which was undoubtedly the best part.
Shygirl (a.k.a. Blane Muise) has so much charisma. We knew this already. But that was sealed on December 2nd. There was no extensive choreography. No backup singers or dancers on stage. No elaborate set designs. It was just Shy on stage, belting out tunes. Why? Because we didn’t come to see the sets nor the dance. We came to see Shygirl in Albert Hall, Manchester. And she knows that.
I remember when Shygirl first glided onto the stage in her black dress, and the fans went buck wild. The star fixated us with her gaze. Her sharp gaze. Her mischievous, but faint, smile turned up on one side. Her face, betraying a hint of arrogance, slightly tilted downwards. When she threw a look at a certain section of the audience, that part of the theatre roared. All this happened before she sang her first note.
Shy’s voice is truly beautiful: soft and siren-like. She was graceful, especially when she did some dance steps like raising her arms and twisting her wrists. This was enough to send cheers through the mob. The “SLIME” singer truly has the star power needed to carry a show on her own. And she looked absolutely stunning in her make-up and long black tresses.
The stage was neither extravagant nor heavily ornamented. But it had one trick up its sleeve. On the back of the stage was a large mirror which was slightly tilted towards the ground. And this gave the performance an other-worldly vibe… like a world fractured in two. As we watched Shygirl walk up to the mirror and touch it, it looked like our world’s Shygirl was looking at Shygirl 2.0 from the parallel world (her reflection). And she was looking back at her. Then the singer laid on the floor so we could not see her. But we watched her reflection in the mirror, doing her dance. It felt like we were watching a movie of her. But she was actually there.
The stage itself had video projections to accompany the tracks, and the video was reflected by the mirror so we could see. We saw water ripples, lotus leaves, and pre-filmed clips of “Shygirls” assembled in a circle and doing a dance. And there was the cute, animated avatar from the “coochie (a bedtime story)” music video.
While the performance was terrific, the sound quality was fuzzy. The loud booming noise reached all corners of the hall, which is great. But we struggled (at times) to separate the words from each other. This was not Shy’s fault, but of the sound team, perhaps. Even more pressing issue was making out the different elements in the songs. This was also apparent in Rose Gray’s set.
There was a delay of 20 minutes on Rose Gray’s part, which, in turn, also postponed Shygirl’s set. So slated to perform for an hour, Rose Gray’s set actually lasted 35-40 minutes. However, it is very common in concerts for the stage set-up to take time and performances to start after the official time. We will never know the goings-on of backstage nor the problems that the team might have encountered which may have delayed the sets. Anyways, the show got pushed past 11:00 PM when it could easily have wrapped up by 10:30 had the artists and their teams stuck to the time.
At least it wasn’t an hour’s delay…
The staff at the entry gate were warm and welcoming.
However, we were not permitted to bring water inside the building. So naturally, we were thirsty throughout the show. The air was warm, and our throats were raspy due to screaming. This was where the staff swooped in to save the day. They generously passed around cups of cold water to whoever raised their hands. And the audience politely passed on cups through the crowd to the ones who needed the water. Often, the staff passed water to the same individuals more than once. That was nice.
If one thing was made clear that night, it’s that Shygirl’s fans are devoted. Like, really devoted.
Fondly called Shybabies, these dedicated fans were energetic and enthusiastic. And mainly composed of teens and young adults. Moreover, there was a visible LGBTQ+ crowd.
The most delightful part of this show was the fact that the crowds sang along with Shy for each of her songs. You had to be there when they did “Heaven” or “Coochie”.
On “BDE”, boys happily sang about wanting to get piped by a man. And boys and girls sang about “coochie”. But my favourite part was when everyone moaned along with her on the climax of “FREAK”. There was a feeling of euphoria and communion in Albert Hall. It was unforgettable.
Also, the audience was incredibly patient when anticipating the artists. In fact, the front rowers waited for over an hour. Nobody complained about the time nor got restless. Some sat down on the floor (including me) when they were tired (this was before the show began). The vibes were light as the crowds chatted with each other, making new friends. “I like your shirt”, one commented to a boy they just met.
Sometimes, the crowd got too loud. We couldn’t hear Shygirl clearly when she spoke or sang because the masses were too crazy about her. Thankfully, Shy does not have to worry about the audience not loving her or us not enjoying the gig. Because we did. And we let it be known.
“Coochie (a bedtime story)”
“Come For Me”
“Poison (Club Shy Mix)“
“BDE (Shy POV)”