Spring might be struggling to start in the Bay Area, but on Tuesday, Mahawam (Malik Mays) brought enough technicolor tones to the stage of Amnesia to render the drab rain outside immaterial.

With a crowd as diverse as the talent, the show was an emblem of an intentional act of inclusivity.

Opening with a DJ set were adorable-with-an-edge Oakland duo vverevvolf. Supporting Mahawam were Portland synth-poppers Fringe Class, who brought a brooding, murky set, courtesy of lead singer Madi Gold's haunting coos.

It was clear, though, that this night was for Mahawam's taking. On the heels of their debut DP, Is An Island, Mahawam seemed primed for the moment.

Signed to Molly House Records, they join a collective of other LGBTQ+ identifying artists (Ah Mer Ah Su, Saturn Rising) in the Bay Area seeking to carve out space in the greater cultural conversation that struggles to acknowledge the contributions of queer-identifying artists, let alone people of color in the realm of hip-hop, rap, and R&B. But as streaming and access to other musical perspectives becomes easier, these artists are beginning to have a reach beyond the footnotes.

Is An Island is expansive, with luminous production that finds Mahawam navigating their processing of an HIV diagnosis and navigating life as gender-nonconforming. On paper, this dark reality might drown out a sense of optimism, but Is An Island a joyous listen.

Buoyed by Mahawam's polymath spirit (they grew up playing violin and cello, and completed a music engineering program), it finds them just at ease with club tracks as showcasing powerful bars and vocal melodies.

This fluidity and authenticity are Mahawam's greatest strengths, and at Amnesia, they made it easy for us in attendance to root for them.

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