[Laura Slingo | News Editor]
It has been quite an eventful year for the Blackpool-born singer Rae Morris. After the release of her debut album Unguarded in January, she’s finally embarked on a country-wide headline tour. From smaller venues to major summer music festivals, it has recently culminated with her taking the UK’s major venues by storm, including the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire.
After raw acoustic sets from Dan Owen and Roo Panes, the crowd shuffled in anticipation for the main event. Morris took to centre stage with her keyboard, surrounded by additional keyboards, drums, bass, and a string-quartet concealed behind a translucent curtain. Beams of white light cut across the darkness of the stage illuminating Morris, her presence haunting.
Her opening tracks ‘Grow’ and ‘Skin’ continued to set the ethereal mood. Sounds of clockwork and ivories echoed the arena and the band continued with precision and grace throughout the set.
Photo credit: Laura Slingo
Playing the Shepherd’s Bush Empire was an honour for Morris. After visiting the venue as a member of the audience and transitioning into a supporting act four times too, she finally took the stage in her own right. She revealed: “This is insane!”
Morris treated her audience to fellow collaborator and synth-pop artist Fryars, who appeared on a platform to the rear of the stage, dressed in red and cloaked in shadows, to perform their track ‘Cold’. The intermittent flashing of spotlights upon the vocalists combined with heavy synths and electronics took the gig up a notch, energising the audience into jitters and waves across the arena.
The willowy singer proceeded to announce a further collaboration with breast cancer awareness charity CoppaFeel!, highlighting that the two had partnered to create a music video for her song ‘Don’t Go’. Before delving into the keyboard-orientated song, Morris added: “If you have any spare time, check your boobs!” adding a touch of whimsy to an issue that is “very significant and important” to her.
The high wispy notes of the singer continued to make the crowd bop and as she progressed through her set. During the much anticipated encore, Morris surprised the audience and brought out Bombay Bicycle Club front man Jack Steadman to duet Bombay’s track ‘Luna’. She then polished off the evening with her most famous song ‘Love Again’, shrouding the venue in streams of synth-pop beats and chiming vocals for a final time.
Photo credit: Laura Slingo
Gracious and timid as ever, Morris admitted that the speaking part of a show was never her strong point. Nevertheless, she thanked the audience fervently for making her dream happen. And after the celestial performance Morris gave, I too felt like I had spent the evening in the clouds of a fantasy.
What do you think about Rae Morris? Have you seen her live? Tweet us @TridentMediaUK.