Opening the concert that evening, we present Hydrogen Sea, a band from Brussels, composed of PJ Seaux (at the keyboard, the pads and even the guitar!) and Birsen Uçar (singer). After shyly introducing themselves (in English nonetheless) to the public, the duo – which appears rather young – embarks on a soft range of pieces tainted by a warm melancholia, freely inspired by The XX, Massive Attack, Cocorosie and other sweetnesses of the sort.
The effect kicks in, the small audience comes closer and slips into the embrace of the colorful notes coming out of the keyboard, matching harmoniously the smooth and almost sensual voice of the pretty blond singer.
This first part gives the flavor of a private showcase, during which I forget for an instant that originally, I am here for Rae Morris… I come back to my senses and dive back behind the camera to try to capture the beautiful light and figure effects performing on stage. The atmosphere in the concert hall is optimal and, as if to strike the public with an ultimate but tender coup de grâce, the band manages successfully a cover of the song Wandering Star from Portishead… That was all it took to succumb for good to their charm.
As we slowly come down from the sky to reach the shore and wait for Rae Morris, I consider that the event is already pretty much a success.
The young 22-year-old from Blackpool (Lancashire), England, appears then from the right side of the stage, along with her musicians (special mention for the drummer who really rocked it). She sits down, grinning from ear to ear, draped in a long dress, with this accent already like music to our ears.
After the first part’s soft and warm atmosphere, a fresh wave immediately conquers the Rockhal’s floor, and I am into it. She opens with songs fresh out of the studio, part of her first album Unguarded, recorded in Los Angeles (first album as it follows the release of several EPs between 2012 and 2014, including Closer EP and Cold EP).
Oh, and speaking of studio, it might also be interesting to mention that she is working a big producer: Ariel Rechtchsaid. This tortuous name doesn’t ring a bell? The album Modern Vampires of the City from Vampire Weekend or The Desired Effect, solo album of Brandon Flowers (singer of The Killers) to be released Mai 18, does that sound any better? Ok… and what about Hey There Delilah from Plain White T’s then ?!
Actually, despite her apparent astonishment in front of the success she met in the concert hall, and her both naïve and so adorable shyness (you have to admit it), Rae Morris is now playing with the big boys.
She has indeed already had the opportunity to share a stage with the band Bombay Bicycle Club, with whom she still has regular contact (their song Luna, from last year, for example…yes, yes, at 1 minute 58, that pretty voice, it’s hers!). More recently, she toured with George Ezra on his European tour before starting her very own.
The songs come one after the other: Grow, Do You Even Know ?. At each break, between two songs, she takes the time to raise her hands off the keyboard to ask the public with a smile if we don’t mind bearing with her for a few more minutes… But yes, please do go on! Along come the key songs: Closer, Love Again, Under the Shadows, even the excellent Cold, co-produced by the Londoner Benjamin Garrett (a.k.a. Fryars).
The musicians accompanying her are nailing it like they should. And it is genuinely as a group that the concert is led then ended with an esthetic softness in perfect harmony with the rest of the event.
Little cherry on top, we even managed to meet her at the end, exchange a few words, and she is so kind!
Rae Morris is a must, she already has an absolutely unique and remarkable talent, freshness and voice. It is certain that she is promising more beautiful things, maybe a second album by the end of 2016? Or even a transition to a group formation, with a male voice to accompany hers? Alright, I know, I am dreaming…
Rae Morris – Unguarded (Atlantic Records)
RAE MORRIS – LOVE AGAIN : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvS4q2QORlo
Hydrogen Sea : https://soundcloud.com/hydrogensea
Bombay Bicycle Club – Luna : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwlgC-jSPTk
Fryars : https://soundcloud.com/fryars