On Wednesday the 16th of October, Concorde 2 once again reinforced its position as Brighton’s ‘crème de la crème’ of music venues. Having hosted Afla Mist and Laura Misch a few months ago, it was time for another one of Tom Misch’s entourage to take the stage: Jordan Rakei.
Rakei, a New Zealand-Australian vocalist, multi-instrumentalist & producer, moved to London four years ago. He quickly joined the bourgeoning new wave of alternative R&B/soul/jazz (Tom Misch, Loyle Carner, Alfa Mist, Laura Misch), appearing on Disclosure’s ‘Caracal’, Tom Misch’s ‘Wake Up This Day’ and Loyle Carner’s ‘Ottolenghi’. Earlier this year, Rakei released his third album, ‘Origin’, and he is now approaching the end of the UK-leg of the Origin tour.
After a brisk walk down Madeira Drive, opening artist Arlo Parks was already busy enticing the early comers with her coming-of-age bedroom pop. She’s only 19 years old and this is her first tour! One of the night’s highlights, she definitely holds a place on our list of ‘Ones to Watch!’
Following a quick changeover, the lights go down and Rakei casually walks on stage. The room bubbles with excitement as the first chords of ‘Mad World’ bounce through the packed room. Joining him on stage are brilliant musicians that deserve a mention: Imran Paleker (Guitar), Jonathan Harvey (Bass), Jim Macrae (Drums) and Ernesto Marichales (Percussions). Highlights come under the form of extended jams that go beyond album versions and transport us far away to a kaleidoscopic concoction of jazz, electro, funk and samba. The obsession and importance that music plays in their lives isn’t just an appearance. This summer, I saw them perform at the Montreux Jazz Festival and after the show I met them backstage. As I entered the room, they were playing a game of trying to guess the opening chords of classic songs. Unfortunately I cannot remember what they said exactly, but it went along the lines of; “E minor?” Asked Imran. “No way, that’s definitely a D minor 7” replied Jordan.
Over an hour into the show, Rakei begins to let his guard down and gets caught up in a laughing fit about a pun he made regarding the next song, ‘Wild Fire’. He starts the song, but keeps being interrupted by his own laughter. It’s refreshing for the audience to see a more human side of the band who’s musical ability and the ease they display it with is often disconcerting.
In a digital era where a lot of mediocre music gets too much media attention, we welcome an artist like Rakei to carry the torch of the true art of writing and performance. Looking around the room, seeing smiles and moving bodies, gives me hope that genuine artists will prevail.
Photo: Hollie Fernando