On his first ever visit to Nottingham Jordan Rakei captivated Rescue Rooms with his soothing soul and beat-heavy grooves.
Hailing from New Zealand and now residing in London, Rakei is a man of many talents. A multi-instrumentalist, surrounded by 5 other extremely talented musicians, the quality of music produced was incredible.
Rakei gained success in the UK through collaborations with the likes of Tom Misch (which meant I recognised a few faces in the crowd from Loyle Carner’s gig the previous week). However it was his debut album Cloak released in 2016 that proved he was an artist ready to put his stamp on the industry. His jazz and soul influences have remained persistent with the release of his second album Wallflower in September. With its introspective lyrics and commitment to sonic exploration the album shapeshifts through its non-linear and unconventional compositions.
Kicking off the set with the album opener ‘Eye To Eye’ the crowd got to experience his silky vocals accompanied by the electric guitar before the full band kicked in, building, like many of his songs, to the climax. Rakei’s rapport with the crowd was very much linked to the lyrical content of his latest release. Opening up about his social anxieties and inner demons, he heightened the sense of intimacy that his music created within the close space.
The crowd’s enthusiasm towards the band onstage heightened when Rakei played a selection of songs from Cloak. Teasing the crowd with ‘Add the Baseline’, the room’s energy gradually built as the bodies moved in sync with the beats and sang along with him. Through these interactions, Rakei seemed at complete ease on stage despite previously explaining his anxieties towards performing live. His connection with his music was clear as he seemed to feel every note played and to then connect with the crowd in this manner emphasised his apparent humble nature.
Ending the night with popular track ‘Sorceress’, he played off the crowd’s accompaniment, harmonising and adlibbing over the chorus’s melody he brought the night to a unified close. He really is a refreshing artist, reaching that perfect balance of neo-soul ballads and funkier harmony driven tracks.