Review: Jordan Rakei at The Triffid, Brisbane, 11 January 2018

Soulful and Spiritual

Watching Jordan Rakei do his thing is a sight to behold, and a packed-out Triffid marveled at the lyrical and musical prowess of their hometown hero.

New Zealand hip-hop/funk sensation Wallace opened the show to a rapturous reception before making way for Rakei to serenade the crowd with his opening tune ‘Eye to Eye’. The crowd was hooked from the first line, swaying, bopping, and grooving to the soulful lyrics and guiding guitars, piano, and drums.

A better song couldn’t have kicked off the night, as the driven feel and massive drum performance roped in the awe-inspired on-lookers, keen to bask in the soulful tones of the London-based, Brisbane-raised singer. Pausing many times to express his gratitude to the audience for their love, and to shout-out his mum who was undoubtedly beaming with pride, Rakei performed hits from past and present on the back of last-year’s Wallflower album.

The effortlessly cool Rakei never seemed to get out of second gear while dipping in and out of his baritone to falsetto range, and in the sweat-shed that is the Triffid there is nothing wrong with that. For those who are unfamiliar with Rakei, his music is a blend of Chet Faker’s synthesizers, John Legend’s piano and vocals, and John Mayer’s swagger and guitar.

However you can’t deny the originality of sound coming from the stage, with hits such as ‘Nerve’, ‘Clues Blues’, ‘Goodbyes’, and ‘Lucid’ belted out with the passion and perfection that has been expected of Rakei since 2016’s breakout album, Cloak.

Although he departed stage-right at the conclusion of an uplifting rendition of ‘Wallflower’, there was no doubt that it was an unnecessary goodbye, as barely a minute had passed before the Brisbanian returned for a colourful and soulful encore of ‘Sorceress’.

Though it was a first visit back to his hometown in almost two years, there was little doubt as to how much the performance meant to the now London-based singer, as Rakei hung around to show his appreciation for the seemingly endless showers of praise.

It may be a while again before Brisbane is blessed with the soulful tones and swagger of their hometown boy, but there is little doubt as to how he will be received: a sold-out Triffid taking pride as if he were the crowd’s own collective son.

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