Review: Rae Morris at the Joiners, Southampton (11/09/2014)

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The huge buzz surrounding Rae Morris at the moment meant I had high expectations for her gig at the Joiners, and for once, these expectations were more than met. As a seasoned performer, I’ve only heard rave reviews of her live shows (be it solo, or with her mates Bombay Bicycle Club), but as this show was the first of the tour, I was dubious as to how the young songstress would cope.

From start to finish you couldn’t look away from Rae. Although she had a cracking band behind her, the unassuming starlet is completely captivating. Throughout her short performance she seemed genuinely grateful and humbled that so many people had turned up for the first live date of her tour, proclaiming that the Southampton audience would be hard to beat, and sharing her worries that nobody was going to turn up.

In a live setting, it becomes apparent how musically interesting Morris’ songs are. They’re full of crunchy and sophisticated chord progressions and interesting syncopated rhythms, which are reinforced by her live band. With ethereal vocals that fly above the instrumentation, the live setting brought life to singles like ‘Skin’ and ‘Closer’ that I’ve previously only heard recorded version of. With her debut album being released in the coming months, it was intriguing to see the songs she’s been working on for the past four years, especially the more upbeat ones (with most of her singles being slower affairs). These newer songs were full of euphoric choruses and soaring vocal lines, albeit with the occasional nineties pop element thrown in. The well-paced set was over in the blink of an eye, which is the only criticism I have of the show: the set was too short! Admittedly, Morris will only have a limited back catalogue of music to pick from, but the set would have benefitted from a couple of additional songs.

Appearing back on stage for an encore, Rae seemed overwhelmed at the reception she’d received, asking “are you sure this is alright?” before diving into a solo track. Comments like this were a theme throughout the show, but unlike some musicians Rae seemed to actually mean it when she was asking the crowd if everything was okay, which was humbling to see. The young star deserves any of the success she gets, as she’s got the talent to back it up with. If you get a chance to catch Rae at any of the other dates, make sure you do.

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Snack queen and entertainment journalist. Records Editor 2014-2015 & News Editor 2013-2014 for The Edge.

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