Jordan Rakei is one of my favourite musical discoveries of the past 2 years. So as soon as I found out he would be doing a London show, it was a no-brainer really. I had to get tickets. Having missed out on two previous London shows due to life etc., I was excited to see how his music would translate to an audience in a live setting. This gig was to be two days after me seeing Years & Years in Leeds which you can read about here; so I'd still be on a high.
I first caught wind of Jordan in January last year when I was mindlessly twitter scrolling and came across his song Selfish (above). I seriously have never looked back. One word describes Jordan's music: viiiiibes. Jordan is both a talented singer and producer.
I ended up going to this gig on my own as my friend decided to bail on me two days before. This only deterred me a little as I knew if I didn't go I would have regretted it. So, after work, I made the journey to Hackney and got there really early after (wrongly) guesstimating how long it would take to get to the venue. After paying an extortionate amount for a drink (hey, we are in London after all), I proceeded to mingle and seek out any other loners there that night. It's amazing how shy you can turn when you are out of your comfort zone; but my motto is: you'll never grow unless you get out of that zone, yo. On my journey of discovery, I spied an unassuming Jordan hollering to some friends who had made it to the show. I cast my mind mind back to Kevin Garrett and thought this guy really doesn't realise how soon his anonymity will be lost. It's kind of the reason I like to see artists live in the infancy of their careers; there's still an air of intimacy at their shows which would be somewhat lost at big arena shows. In the end, I did meet quite a few people who were there on their own and I took comfort from this. I met this really cool musician called Alysha who was travelling round Europe (from Thailand originally). She told me that it was between seeing Tori Kelly and Jordan Rakei that night (tough choice...) Doing things alone is underrated I think; when you're on your own, the only person you have to answer to is yourself which = complete f r e e d o m. You could also meet some cool people like I did.
Anyways, onto the gig. Jordan was supported by a band called: Whilk & Misky who were decent. Although, the small venue coupled with the loud-ass speakers certainly didn't help their sound carry through as well as it could have. I feel they would be better at a bigger place. Still, they warmed the crowd up.
Then, came the big (but actually quite small) man Jordan himself. I had only really listened properly to his first release: Franklin's Room and beforehand had quickly spotified(?) his 2nd EP which is really aptly named: Groove Curse. So I didn't know all of his songs but that truly didn't matter. I fully enjoyed myself. The majority of the crowd seemed to know more songs from Groove Curse than Franklin's Room. I grooved both to the songs I did know and to the ones I didn't know too well. And that was what made this show so great: Jordan and his band just oozed good times throughout the set and made everyone comfortable to let loose and have a really amazing time. I don't think I've head-bopped so many times in one show but again, everyone felt free to groove.
This is probably a good time to give total props to Jordan's band who were an extension of him that night: they were a solid unit that night and each instrumentalist as well as the backing vocalist really shone in their own right at different and integral parts of the show.
Jordan had just released his song The Light prior to the show but I didn't want to hear it until the show and I was not disappointed. He gave it his all and had be bopping again.
Just thought I'd also mention that there was a special guest in the crowd in the form of Mr. Tom Misch - I walked past him on my way to the front and he was trying to be inconspicuous with a snapback to hide his face. Soz Tom: I clocked you. Everything that either Tom or Jordan touches is just gold and I seriously don't know how they have managed to lock down this consistency so early on in the game.
Jordan ended the gig with his collaborative effort with Disclosure: Masterpiece. This track features on Disclosure's latest album: Caracal. True to form, Jordan jazzed it up and had us vibing for days. In all, this was hands-down the best gig I've been to (Soz Frank [Ocean] and Drizzy).
(UPDATE - Jordan's album: Cloak just dropped, talk about timing for this post. Check it out on Spotify etc.)