What can you say about Raye that hasn’t been said before?
Frankly, a lot.
Compared to the opening act, Kara Marni, Raye was extraordinarily versatile and talented. It was like Led Zeppelin following up a high school band recital. Yet at the same time, Kara Marni wasn’t that bad. Indeed, the songs might have been generic but they were at least energetic, danceable, and mature.
But who goes to a restaurant for the appetisers? Let’s talk about Raye.
I wasn’t exactly surprised to see her perform my favourite Raye track, the aggressive ‘Shhh,’ but I was somewhat jilted to hear it immediately after a piano-led, tear-jerking performance of a song about a negative experience in her past, which I won’t be elaborating on. But that’s just the kind of show Raye puts on: you’re dancing one moment, you’re crying the next. I think it’s possible, in fact, that I felt more in this 45-minute show than I ever have at a gig before.
But that’s just the kind of show Raye puts on: you’re dancing one moment, you’re crying the next
And the music was the least part of that. It was Raye’s playful personality, her genuine excitement to be playing a world tour, and her crowd interaction (including her family members, who had come down to see her) which all added up to one of the most exciting shows I’ve ever seen. Hell, even her very movements on stage (and she moves a lot) lent her such an indefinable air of importance that it was hard to imagine a person this cool could even exist.
But she’s talented, too; the entire second half of the show was Raye showing off her abilities, and she was better than even the most hardcore fans may have suspected. Compared to her studio work, she has managed to succeed herself, a hundred fold. If this whole gig had been her on her own, it would have been great, but it wasn’t, and it was even better. Songs like ‘You Don’t Know Me’ and ‘Decline’ (which closed out the show, of course), were given mild remixes which made them sound better than ever, and even the songs which remained faithful to recordings now took on an atmosphere altogether different, yet implacable.
In short, Raye is a diamond in the rough of the Top 40, and if you ever pass up the chance of seeing her live, I will personally kill you.
Header image via Meg Firth