Live Review

Raury, The Red Gallery, London

Zigzagging from Queen covers to impromptu signings to actual mini-triumphs, this unpredictable Atlanta newcomer is destined for stardom.

“Put your hands up, jump around, you didn’t come here to sit down,” barks Atlantan rapper/multi-instrumentalist Raury by way of introduction. As far as precocious polymathic performers go, few can hold a candle to this newcomer in the enthusiasm stakes. At various points during tonight’s sold-out show at Shoreditch’s Red Gallery, he will: instigate a H2O mini-riot, down tools completely to sign vinyl copies of his ‘Indigo Child’ project - in his “serial killer handwriting” - and generally zigzag around the stage like a space-hopper crammed full of firecrackers.

It’s Raury’s first gig in London, and despite the 18-year-old’s impossibly confident posturing, there are some technical jitters even he can’t magic away. A pregnant pause midway through the set, in which he improvs the Arthur theme tune - fluffing his lines for the one time this evening - is followed by the declaration: “I’m gonna get it all out for you guys tonight.” And he does just that, with an impassioned rendition of ’ Cigarette Song’ - smoky vocals seeping through a gauze of raunchy, swaggering licks and shunted percussion.

“My name is Raury. I make music for the rebels, the dreamers, and the underdogs,” he broods, as the first swooning chords of ’ Superfly’ - his collaboration with Aussie wunderkind Vancouver Sleep Clinic - bob and weave through the room. It’s a sweet and poignant antidote to his other, more antagonistic odes, like the tempestuous ‘God’s Whisper’, the track which first endeared him to Yeezy, and ‘Chariots Of Fire’, on which he blazes “better sharpen your weapons tonight,” over careening guitars and rocksteady beats.

Sure, some tracks work better than others tonight. His cover of Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, all croaky vocals, chintzy keys and dizzying solos, is met with a mixture of awkwardness, glee and utter bafflement. Still, Raury has the sort of boundless energy that makes you feel pretty underwhelmed about everything you’ve ever achieved; he makes you want to don a floppy wide-brimmed hat and chase your own impossible dream.

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