To celebrate the release of her debut full-length record Unguarded, up-and-coming singer-songwriter Rae Morris has been touring the UK, stopping off at Electric Brixton in South London, her biggest headline performance to date.
The Blackpool artist was lucky enough to have two acts to introduce her on stage: Ekkah and Fryars. The former, a female duo made up of Rebecca Wilson and Rebekah Pennington, kicked things off with their funk inspired pop and disco glitter. Their husky yet smooth vocals, layered production and on-stage presence were enough to get the small audience clicking and bopping away with the duo. They proved multi-talented, cool and fresh with their 80s style synchronised dance moves, percussion and a great, unexpected saxophone solo from Pennington. Fryars, who came on just half an hour after Ekkah, clearly had a lot to live up to.
As a close friend of Morris, co-producer and contributor of her debut record, Benjamin Garrett, better known as Fryars, was a fitting choice for the Unguarded tour. Having released his second album Power, the artist and producer had a lot of material to work with and chose a key few pieces that encompassed his original, often outlandish sound. His presence on stage was unfortunately hindered by a noisy, restless crowd, drowning his voice at points turning his anecdotal speeches into mumbles.
Encouraged by cheers and excitement from the crowd, Morris’ talented band soon began to set up on stage. Tentatively, Rae Morris, clad in her polished monochrome attire with her signature curly auburn hair, took to her trusted keys to perform ‘Skin’, the perfect start to the concert, being the opening track of Unguarded. Throughout her set she expertly floats from mellow, emotional tracks to her more upbeat songs, the first being ‘Closer’, a definite crowd favourite.
Suddenly she returns again to one of her most heart-wrenching tracks, ‘Don’t Go’, the first single Morris released aged just 18. The song has a clear emotional significance for the young artist which resonated through the audience, in awe of her emotive, mesmerising voice. Morris spends a brief yet warming moment thanking one of her producers who has worked alongside her throughout her musical journey.
Beginning the closing trio of songs – ‘Morne Fortuné’, ‘Up Again’ and ‘Love Again’ – Morris loses her singer-songwriter stance behind the piano getting up on her feet, introducing a torrent of applause from the crowd. ‘Up Again’, being a stripped-back rendition of the Clean Bandit track which she features heavily on, encouraged even more gratitude and appreciation from the humble artist.
Returning for a two-track encore, Morris timidly asked the audience ‘Are you sure this is okay?’ followed by an understandably positive response leading into album closer ‘Not Knowing’. Finishing her set with the catchy, punchy ‘Under The Shadows’, the crowd were left in high spirits, full of energy, and definitely wanting even more from this young artist who outshone herself and exceeding the crowd’s expectations.