Rae Morris is nothing short of enthralling. A bubble of hair and a burst of never-ceasing energy, she has become renowned for her energetic performances, playing out the tracks from her debut and beyond like a self-contained musical. She doesn’t just perform music, the pure nature of her vocal tells a real story, her life laid out bare for the audience to pick over. It’s this raw genuine outpouring of emotion that has given her such a strong, loyal following. People relate.
It’s this I mulled over as I headed down to the O2 Shepherds Bush Empire on October 8th. Turning up at the venue and heading straight for the bar (as one does) I turned round and was pleasantly surprised by the sight of Bombay Bicycle Club guitarist Jamie MacColl. One slightly starstruck conversation and a lukewarm pint of overpriced cider later, I squidged my way down the side to try and get a good spot.
Having found a nice cosy corner near the front, I had a cracking view when Morris and her band took to the stage. Opening with a personal favourite, Grow, that fabled connection was forged with the audience which frankly didn’t let up until she left the stage. Breezing through her set, made up for the most part of songs from her debut album, Unguarded, Morris exuded a sort of humble confidence – every other song was punctuated by an exclamation of “Oh my goodness, thank you!” or “this is quite literally a dream come true”. Nothing seems false or contrived however, with both her comments and her music clearly coming from the heart.
There were two collaborations on the night, one of which was with her long time collaborator Fryars on their track Cold. This track has never stood out for me personally – probably because I find him vaguely irritating as a performer – but Morris made the bizarrely insightful choice to have him behind a curtain at the back of the stage. Therefore I could easily pretend he wasn’t there and bask in her brilliance some more.
The second collaboration was the first track of her encore, when she played Luna, her Bombay Bicycle Club collaboration, with the band’s frontman Jack Steadman. With the presence of MacColl earlier in the evening now far from surprising, the duo played an acoustic version of the track. Blending into the funk-driven dance pop of Love Again, it was a wonderful way to round off the evening. Morris’s cool modesty lingered in me for many days after.
Rae Morris played:
Do You Even Know
Under The Shadows
Luna (with Jack Steadman)