I was pretty late in checking out the Kazimier, given it’s widely accepted, and much deserved, stature as one of Liverpool’s favourite gig venues. I was also pretty last-minute in picking up on the Blackpool-born talent of singer songwriter Rae Morris. And so, a gig headlined by Morris at the Kazimier seemed like a match made in musical heaven. Or at least one I felt a strong need to experience.
When we finally entered the Kaz, we appeared in the middle of a set by Dave O’Grady’s Seafoam Green, featuring Mersey Wylie. The pair debuted new music rich with rock and blues vibes. Their voices blended extremely well, although from a neighbour’s reaction, they may have been an acquired taste.
The second support slot was filled with music from Fryars, a one-man entity hailing from London. An intense set of experimental musicianship filled with swerving melodies and what can only be interpreted as a candid insight into Fryars’ personal world, led perfectly into the night’s headliner.
By this point the atmosphere was bubbling to the brim with anticipation -one of the best I’ve experienced since coming to Liverpool. Having toured with the likes of Bombay Bicycle Club, George Ezra and Noah and the Whale, it was now Morris’ turn to take to the stage, kicking off the tour set up to promote her newly released album, ‘Unguarded‘.
There’s always a danger in attending concerts of artists you already liked; you can come away either disappointed, or more in love with them than you were before. With Morris, I found no hint of the former. She aced performances of the better known tracks ‘Closer’ and ‘Under the Shadows‘, note-perfect and smiling. As well as the tracks I was more familiar with, Morris brought other album material to the stage including ‘Cold‘, a track featuring tour buddy Fryars. Morris also performed ‘Grow‘, a song she said was about those moments in life when you feel you just need to grow up a little. And from the pool of faces surrounding me, I was not the only one with whom this song resonated. Nothing needed saying; it was a mutual understanding between artist and audience.
Rae herself announced early on in the gig that she didn’t like to talk too much between songs for fear of ruining the atmosphere, but what she did say oozed with charm, giving just enough insight without being too intrusive. What really hit me though was the overwhelming sense of Morris’ appreciation for both the music itself and her fans – a personal and inspiring gig.
Honestly, I haven’t seen anything as hauntingly soulful as that in a long time, if ever. Rae Morris is 2015’s one to watch.
Words: Cecily Sheppard