Review: Jordan Rakei @ Manchester Academy 2

You will struggle to find a more captivating performance demonstrating both musical ability and stage presence as exemplified by Jordan Rakei and his support last night.

It was a performance that felt far too short but delivered so much at the same time.

Jordan, part of the Are we Live podcast group and heavily associated with acts such as Barney Artist, Alfa Mist and Tom Misch, effortlessly combined a setlist of tracks from his new project Origin with self-described “pre-historic” songs from his previous full-length LPs.

The support of 19-year-old Arlo Parks on her first ever tour set the bar high gripping the audience with her sophisticated music and a voice to compete with the most experienced in the industry. I highly doubt she will be just the support act for much longer.

Soon after, Jordan introduced himself to a packed crowd and without a moment’s hesitation set about his work opening with the voice loop and synthesiser led Mad World from the new album.

Jordan has described on the Are we Live podcasts how this new project is all about his vision of a dystopian future run by artificial intelligence, a point reiterated before new song Say Something, in which he describes his vision of humans rising up against the machines in the future.

“Go humans” he shouts to cheers from the crowd.

The sheer amount of ease that songs transitioned from the upbeat likes of Mad World to the deeply emotional and intimate Tawo, from Jordan’s first full length album Cloak, to the laid back jazz and soul of Alright, from his second album Wallflower, justifies the attention this singer/song-writer, multi-instrumentalist, and producer has been receiving since arriving in London from Australia in 2015.  

Although having spent most of those four years being mostly recognised for collaborations with Tom Misch and Loyle Carner, this new album and live show really sees him come into his own.

Jordan had the crowd hanging on his every word, getting the enthusiastic audience to become part of the music, pointing the microphone to the crowd to sample them for Mantra.

The setlist overall was a perfect mix of old and new with hits and lesser known B-sides providing the audience with a real insight into Jordan’s world.

The set finished with a quick encore of one song, the first single from Origin Mind’s eye.

This song perfectly captures the story that he is trying to tell us with the layers of keyboards and jittery drumbeat providing us a vivid insight into Jordan’s vision.

The lights came on matched by a collective groan, but a quick check of the time did show that it was played right up until the curfew.

The mood of the room was still high with what appeared to be most of the room heading down to the merchandise stall where Arlo Parks greeted everyone around.

Overall the talent on show was clear to see with both artists definitely ones to watch going into the future. As for the show itself, Manchester was treated to a special performance which will be remembered for a long time.

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