Raye // Live Review & Photoset

5th November | Thekla

Photos: Michael Brumby

Music can often act as an outlet, a way in which one can express and communicate strong personal emotions. That is certainly true for singer-songwriter, Raye who laid herself bare during her sold-out show at Thekla.

With help from soul artist, Kara Marni as her support act, the lower deck was thoroughly shaken as Raye took to the stage for her first ever show in Bristol on her debut headline tour. The artist made a lively and punchy entrance, performing ‘Crew’, ‘Friends’ and ‘The Line’ consecutively. She set the bar high, with strong vocals and a positive energy that filled the whole boat.

It was so infectious that you would find yourself dancing along without even realising. ‘By Your Side’ came next, the Jonas Blue track that aided her rise to fame, followed by ‘Check’ and ‘Confidence’, songs that give a taste of Raye‘s R&B side, a genre she explores frequently when she’s not writing out-and-out pop songs that are destined for chart success.

Despite the enviable career the twenty-one-year-old has had so far, at times Raye seemed in disbelief of what she had achieved and showed so much gratitude to her fans. This humble attitude – along with the venue – altered the connection between Raye and her audience. It felt intimate and relaxed; Raye was in awe of her audience just as much as they were in awe of her.

This natural and equal connection was emphasised when Raye took to the piano and showcased her more emotional and heartfelt style. Firstly, she performed ‘Sober’, an emotional ballad about an unhealthy relationship. However it was an unreleased track, ‘Ice Cream’ that stole the night.

Appearing emotional when introducing the song, Raye explained that it was about a producer who had “invaded her space” a few years ago. The moving song, that Raye initially wrote as a way to relieve the emotions she had been holding in for years, now has meaning that goes beyond her own experience. As we are living in the #MeToo movement, artists such as Raye, who are brave enough to speak about their experiences of harassment, give their audience the courage to speak out and strive to change the unacceptable behaviour that has been accepted in our society.

Despite revealing her traumatic and emotional experience to the audience, Raye showed us how you finish a set. Following ‘Ice Cream’, she performed ‘Shhh’, ‘Cigarette’, ‘You Don’t Know Me’ and finished with ‘Decline’, all upbeat pop tracks with a catchy hook and an added element of rock thanks to her live band. Raye stood before us as the perfect performer and role model – humble, honest, positive and courageous.

See the video for ‘Friends’ here: