Rae Morris, The Hothouse, Morecambe - Review

Rae Morris, Hothouse flower
Rae Morris, Hothouse flower

There may be little or no distance between Blackpool and Morecambe, but in the time it’s taken for this teenage singer/songwriter and pianist to move from gigs in her home resort to this performance, a lot has happened.

She now has a contract with Atlantic Records, no less, has just completed a European tour supporting Fink, and has also appeared on the bill with Bombay Bicycle Club.

In Morecambe this was her only headlining UK performance this year and – as she suddenly seemed to realise – “my last gig of the year!”

It was part of the Stages Live season, laid on by the resort’s More Music community at their newly-refurbished Hothouse club. Their aim is to showcase the best of the UK’s breakthrough acts as well as providing an opportunity for young people to perform on their doorstep.

In which case every town should have one...

More than once Rae Morris paid tribute to an “inspirational venue” which despite its size and resources was well able to create concert surroundings with big screen backdrop and other visuals.

A perfect setting then for intensely-confessional songs from the heart, allegedly penned in her garden shed studio in Blackpool.

From such small beginnings great legends can often be cultivated, and there is much here to suggest that process is well under way.

Her lyrics alone suggest a maturity well beyond her years, but it is the vocal technique that is ear-catching. She can bend a musical phrase, and a word within it, to her will, with a voice that soars before dipping to a whisper. And her chiming piano riffs will play particularly well in the one or two former church venues that have already been lined up as part of her touring early next year. By the end of 2013, who knows?

Among supports acts here was Katy Pickles, a Lancaster singer-songwriter who has come through More Music’s Stages project.

Hers was another haunting voice - coupled with deeply-personal songwriting - but perhaps heard at its best on her cover of Feeling Good.

David Upton