Jordan Rakei @ Stylus 12/08/19

On Saturday the 12thOctober, Katie Padda went to witness Jordan Rakei take on Stylus at Leeds University Union as part of his first UK tour, in support of his third studio album – Origin.

Kicking off the evening was 19 year-old Arlo Parks, with a freaking beautiful Jorja-Smith-esque voice that filled the venue. Her song writing was especially refreshing, depicting youth struggles but emanating a maturity far beyond her years. 

Rakei and his band began with the slow-building ‘Mad World’, taking time to gradually increase both tempo and volume and introduce their sound to both loyal fans and new listeners alike. Whilst newcomers to Rakei may find themselves looking for more regularity and consistency within the structure of his music, it is arguably Rakei’s daring combination of Jazz, Soul, Alternative R&B and Trip Hop – alongside his reluctance to conform to main-stream music – that makes seeing him perform live such a unique experience.

Highlights of the set included ‘Eye to Eye’, during which Rakei set the beat through clapping and gentle repeated backing vocals. Equally, ‘Mantra’ was a particularly moving performance – despite Rakei subtly joking about his “deep” intentions to spread positivity, the importance of keeping one’s head up through difficult circumstances was translated boldly through the jazzy melodies.

Jordan Rakei may not be the gig you are looking for if you enjoy audience interaction and physical energy from those on stage, however fans would undoubtedly argue Rakei simply has no need to do this. His natural place is on the stage, directly in front of the keys, asserting enough power and energy through his vocals and performance to convey his message through in his sound alone.

Jordan’s dramatic, idiosyncratic performance – packed with atmospheric and truly stunning vocals – submerged the audience in an incomparably surreal and euphoric vibe. 

Katie Padda

[Image Credit : Jon Bergman]