Jordan Rakei. Thekla, Bristol.

Artist I’ve heard played on 6 Music a few times, venue on a boat that was the location for the gig number 1 back in February.

Thekla was long overdue another visit, its one of Bristol’s quirkiest venues. Nightclub come gig venue on a boat in the harbour with possibly the stickiest floor and sweatiest walls of any venue in the City. If Jordan Rakei is good enough to be on 6 Music’s playlist and radar then he’s good enough to take a punt on seeing live.

Gig 37 was my last chance to discover new music, to see an artist I’d not seen live before. I was late in so missed most of the support act and didn’t manage to catch their name so they will remain reviewless.

It was a sell out crowd and you can feel that on Thekla, it’s so small you can’t help knowing when it is full. It was a younger crowd so I automatically felt slightly out-of-place. All around me was a sea of 90’s fashion, a weird throwback for me as I remember satin slip dresses with converse trainers from my own youth!

Jordan and his 5 piece band made their way on to a rapturous reception. It took me most of the set to warm up and feel comfortable, which is a shame because there was much to enjoy in the music. Funky bass lines, irresistable percussion, 2 guitarists and keys backing a soulful voice should have made for a great gig. It seemed to for the crowd around me, who were all dancing and enjoying themselves. There were moments I really loved, Nerve, Wallflower and the final track of Sorceress stood out, but it just didn’t gel and hang together as a complete gig experience for me. I can’t put my finger on why either. It was a good gig, I guess I’ve just become accustomed to great! To be a great gig there has to be a confluence of so many factors and something tonight was just missing for me. That is no bearing on the talent of Jordan and his band, it is a reflection of what it felt like for me is all.

I will still take much from tonight’s gig. It was ace to see a more gender balanced crowd and a more diverse mix of people in the crowd as well. That’s a reflection of the band and the mix of funk, soul, jazz and electronic music they played. The obvious delight and joy in the faces around me was also really pleasing.

Sometimes you have incredible gig experiences and sometimes you have a nice time. All are valid. All are part of 40 gigs and what has made it such a special project.

37 down. 3 to go.




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