Live Review: Wafia + MAY-A + Banoffee – 170 Russel St, Melbourne

In 2017, Brisbane-based R&B singer-songwriter Wafia was starting to build her career, singing alongside acts like Vancouver Sleep Clinic and supporting acts like Daughter. Now, in 2020, she’s running her own show and practically selling out 170 Russel St on a Friday night.

Modest yet engaging, Wafia truly captivated the audience with both her music and personality. Wearing platform boots and a flowing black dress, Wafia brought strong feminine energy onto the stage – an atmosphere that was set up wonderfully by her supporting acts MAY-A and Banoffee. Both delivered strong performances that set the base for a night of songs about love, heartbreak and self-sufficiency. MAY-A’s performance was heartfelt, with the Sydney-based 17-year-old using pop music as an opportunity to explore intimacy and modern love in a way that was reminiscent of our well-loved Mallrat. Definitely an artist to watch out for!

When googling Banoffee, a number of recipes come up – but we didn’t need any sugar, the artist was sweet enough. Upbeat, synth-rich and fun, Banoffee took what MAY-A was putting down and enhanced it. Things became even sweeter when, after her performance, Banoffee came and mingled with the crowd – and everyone loved it, asking her for selfies, which she happily indulged.

With the help of MAY-A and Banoffee, when it was time for Wafia to come on, everyone was ready, having broken in their dancing shoes. She didn’t disappoint, entering the stage and starting off with “Heartburn”, one of her older hits. She continued with “Love Somebody” and “Better Not”, all classic songs about love and loss: easy to relate to and sing along with – and the audience was definitely feeling Wafia, everyone was moving and singing along.

With a big smile, she commanded the stage, energetically dancing, making eye contact with the audience and really singing to (and sometimes with) them. When she paused to introduce herself, she was greeted with strong applause and wolf-whistling – and it was enough to make her tear up.

That wasn’t the only time she bridged the gap between her and her audience. She’s expressive in her music, yes, but also in the way she performs: being lit in hazy pink, purple and red tones, as she sings high energy love songs with smooth, rich vocals.

Although often perceived online as moody, on-stage she was smiling and teary, emotionally engaging with her fans, even getting flustered from the attention. Whether she was playing “83 Days”, “Bodies” or a cover of Justin Timberlake’s “Mirror” – she delivered.

The night finished with “I’m Good”: a bright note to end a night of strong, feminine performances about love, loss and self-appreciation.


Wafia is still touring Australia – for more information, click HERE.

Daniela Koulikov

At the age of three, Daniela Koulikov picked up a pen, and hasn’t put it down since. She loves live music, interviewing artists and reviewing events in Melbourne. When she's not out and about in the live music scene, she's walking her dog or taking her friends with her on a hike.