dodie @ Leeds University Stylus, 28/10

No word describes dodie’s gig better than wholesome. Not only in her performance, but the purity and engulfing sense of goodness that radiates from her and her fans was just awe inspiring. I felt like I was attending a family gathering of people who had never met, yet were anything but strangers.

In a bubbling crowd of young girls, dressed mostly in “dodie yellow”, accompanied by their parents, I certainly felt out of place, but not at all unwelcome. Standing at the back as to not block anyone’s view, I witnessed a spectacle of a safe space, far away from this growingly disturbed world. Dancing, crying, and singing without a care for who was watching, the crowd felt like a connected unit. A girl passes out, dodie stops the gig to check if she’s ok, and another girl from across the room passes her water. Moments like this convinced me that this was the best crowd I’ve ever been in.

dodie’s music focuses on themes that revolve around the struggles of a young, queer, mentally ill person in 21st century Britain. Yet her songs offer messages that are anything but platitudes.

Her music, just as any other, is worthy as political music. The lyricism of her songs, such as ‘She’, offer a personal take on queer heartbreak in a heteronormative world, ‘In The Middle’ talks about experimenting with sex for the fun of it, and ‘6/10’ offers a take on never feeling quite enough. It’s more than important to understand the crowd here. It’s incredibly important for teens to have a role model like dodie telling them it’s ok to be curious and it’s ok to not feel good enough. Not only in her music but through captivating monologues, too. dodie half way through the gig stops to wave a bi pride flag handed to her from girls at the barrier, further demonstrating the political theme her music holds.

The most important thing I took away from the gig was the importance of artists like dodie empowering and sending positive messages to teenage girls. I’ve seen abuse thrown at her for ‘just being a YouTube musician’ but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

dodie provides beautiful, angelic melodies and, most importantly, gives empowerment to a group who are desperate for role models.

Words by Christopher Tobin

Images by Meg Firth