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Girli - Creating a sapphic dreamland, live at Manchester Club

On the second to last date of the Matriarchy Tour, Girli and support act tiLLie turn Manchester Club Academy into a pink sapphic pop dream.

First on stage was tiLLie and her drummer Jared. This was my first introduction to the American artist however, the majority of the crowd was already familiar with her. This was evident in the full venue turnout for a support set! Her American-ness was quickly apparent as she opened with mOmS bAsEmeNt   a song about exactly what you would expect: sad guys hiding behind a screen while still living with their mothers. Next on the set was her hit single jeLLiefish aPocaLypsE, of her upcoming EP tiLLieverse, about disassociating from society. However, not all in tiLLie’s set is so detached from humanity. In fact, tiLLie was very raw and real about her personal experiences as she spoke out about domestic violence and sexual assault. Despite the heavy undertones of the songs, the performance was very lively and the crowd responded well to it.

I personally really enjoyed tiLLie’s song dedications, in particular, one “to the craziest bitch ever“ – her Dad, and another to “Gaby Gregory’s mom“, Carol, who slut shamed her for being assaulted. After the show, tiLLie said she would be “taking pics and signing tits“ at the merch stand which got a big scream of approval.

All the Things She Said by Poppy played out the speakers as Girli made her way onto the stage. She went straight into the new album Matriarchy with the single ‘Nothing Hurts Like a Girl’, but then balanced the set with some older favourites like ‘I Don't Like Myself’ and ‘Not That Girl’. My personal favourite from the new album was ‘Friday Night Big Screen’ as it transformed the crowd into a sea of arms waving across the venue in unison.

The room slowed down when the set took a turn as Girli played an acoustic version of ‘Made to Break’. She only started doing this on the Europe leg of her tour and was hesitant to play it in the UK originally. However, I’m not sure what she was worried about as it received the longest and loudest applause and the crowd was moved to tears by her performance. Another crowd favourite on the night was ‘Hot Mess’. It wasn't long until the entire venue was the chorus back at her while she danced the macarena for the remainder of the song – which I found iconic!

Before the encore, Girli did a free-to-enter raffle at the merch stand. Girli picked five raffle numbers out of a cap that was conveniently available for purchase over at merch and the lucky winners got to go backstage at the end to meet Girli herself. Sadly, I didn’t win but it was a lovely idea and so accessible to all fans by keeping it free. As Girli disappeared for the encore, the crowd erupted with chanting her name until she walked back on stage singing ‘More Than a Friend’. After this song she had a bridal moment; she turned her back to the crowd and threw the setlist out like a bouquet.

The evening ended on a high with ‘Matriarchy‘, the title track of her new album. She took some time to explain its meaning, how love and intimacy exist outside of the binary. The song is about not having to live for the male gaze and having a safe space for anyone to be their authentic selves. The song further cemented the feeling of community Girli fostered, with groups of friends twirling and dancing away. Surely, an evening to remember for everyone in attendance.




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