The lights are dimmed, chatter slowly ceases, darkness falls. Onstage, Jordan Rakei’s silhouette, framed by the musicians surrounding him, appears under mystic midnight blue projectors’ lights. His soulful voice, accompanied by an airy monotone chord, slowly elevates itself to fill the sold out room, as he opens his set with ‘Mad World’ from his newly released summer album Origin.
Jordan Rakei, the kiwi now based in London, is known for his groovy electro neo-soul sound. With his live show at the Roundhouse, he certainly did not let his fans down. It’s the smooth succession of slightly altered, but more intriguing versions, of his old as well as his newer songs, that makes his show so unique. There’s more texture to it: hypnotising rich chord progressions, instrumental solos full of psychedelic note bends and decrescendo hammer ons, harmonised vocal runs, dynamic syncopated rhythms…
But Jordan Rakei did not only surprise us solely with his ability to add in more complex musical structures and flow when performing live, he also brought out three guests, for even more variety. Loyle Carner first, then Tom Misch and finally Barney The Artist. All of them livened up the show, as they moved around the stage and interactively engaged with the crowd; some walking in an energetically expressive manner, whilst others preferring to skip around and jam along with the other musicians.
So, picture the scene: you’ve got Jordan Rakei, the man himself in the middle, a guitarist, bassist, percussionist, and drummer, in front of back up singers dancing. A full, but well sectionally organised stage, emitting vibrant soundscapes, whether it is for the sea of nodding heads captivated by the rhythmic patterns, or for the rows of more chilled-out seated fans on the balcony. Nevertheless, the whole circular venue had the chance to appreciate the simultaneous lighting and music combos that heightened the quality of the performance.
It’s simple: there’s something for everyone in Jordan Rakei’s music. The blends of electro, jazz, soul and more, mingle with each other to create melodies that stand out, which makes him a must-see and must-listen. Origin, his album released back in June, now patiently awaits you – enjoy!
Photo credit: Elissa Vinh
Edited by Alexia McDonald, Digital Editor