Last Saturday, Australian-born, London-based sensation Mall Grab performed a headline show for the history books in his home city. Forming part of his Looking For Trouble UK tour which has seen the high-flying DJ/producer on the road since October 23rd, with the final event landing at Wire in Leeds on 24th November.
His show at Electric Brixton was clearly a special one and to mark the occasion was littered with original Mall Grab production. The two and a half hour set took us on a journey through the evolution of MG, with iconic tracks that have gained him international acclaim, unreleased edits which every fan is dying to see the light of day and the heavy-hitting sound he’s more commonly known for today.
Teeing up the headline act in style were three support acts who’ve been lighting up the scene of late; Helena Star, Eleanor (formerly FUCKINGELLE) and Toshiki Ohta. Spinning a concoction of spine-tingling breaks, pumping house and other-worldly techno, they certainly got us ready and raring for Mall Grab.
It was virtually impossible to whittle down to just six with such an action-packed set, so here’s just some our standout tracks :
Liverpool Street In The Rain
Before we get into talking about the track, just listen to the applause from the crowd as Mall Grab steps up. It’s a long video, but trust me it’s worth a full watch. We’ve never heard an atmosphere quite like that to welcome a DJ – a real goosebump moment and one we won’t forget any time soon.
Opening his set was a tune which arguably slingshotted him into the limelight during MG’s early lo-fi days. The slower-paced, stripped back number released on Looking For Trouble as part of LFT001 is instantly recognisable. However, this time saw Mall Grab very slowly easing the track in with the tempo brought right down, teasing the crowd before the iconic melody rang around the room, and bringing with it a huge reaction.
I Survived 2K18
Moving swiftly into the heavier selections Mall Grab is known for spinning more recently, comes a gut-wrenching tune from DJ Boneyard. Verging on gabber territory, sinister sounding stabs zigzagged around the venue before blistering distorted kicks left the walls shaking. Released on DJ Haus’ Dance Trax, this one packs a helluva punch.
My personal favourite track from Mall Grab, which I’ve had on repeat many times before and yet still slaps live. Listening to it feels like you’re on a rollercoaster journey of emotions. Out on Looking For Trouble’s LFT005, “Sunflower” draws on the heart strings with emotive synths and a euphoric melody before injecting pace and excitement with a scintillating snare roll and punchy kick drum.
Goosebumps (Mall Grab Edit)
This took us fully by surprise. A track we’ve only heard once in his Rinse FM show, and never before in a live set, but boy was it worth the wait. Creeping in after another fan favourite “I’ve Always Liked Grime”, with a distinct sample from JME & Skepta’s renowned track “That’s Not Me” came Mall Grab’s unreleased Travis Scott edit. Featuring Kendrick Lamar, the edit includes the song’s well-known chorus which left the crowd belting out the lyrics. What a moment.
Love Is Real
Following suit from the last tune found another we were yet to hear played out and left the hairs on the back of our necks standing. The MG collab with close friend and fellow Aussie Loods was released on Mall Grab’s imprint Steel City Dance Discs in 2018 as part of the QUAALUDEES series. Originally a vinyl only release, the two-track EP was made available digitally for a limited time in 2020. A real feel-good tune, with a vocal sample from Shalamar’s “I Owe You One” and an undeniable groove.
He couldn’t really close the set with any other tune right now. One of Mall Grab’s latest singles which has been doing the rounds throughout his tour with an emphatic response from fans. Tonight was no exception and called on the crowd’s vocal chords once more for yet another hair-raising moment courtesy of this big piano banger. Truly a performance for the history books.
Words: Ben Lovejoy
Images: Robert Stanforth