It’s not often that you see a recently turned 18-year-old ooze the confidence and poise on stage as the great Michael Jackson once did, but then again Raury doesn’t seem like your typical teenager. Admittedly the only reason I started following this budding young artist from Atlanta, was the interest the messiah of music, Kanye West, showed in him. Could Raury be a feature on the next Yeezy venture? Time will tell. I digress, back to the gig.
Ari and I were treated to the heavy beats of Milwaukee Banks, and to be honest usually I find people who try and follow the footsteps of Drake fail miserably, but these guys were surprisingly good and I would definitely see them again. I have never been to Howler before and was quite impressed by the acoustics and intimate feel of the room. Usually I’m a middle/at the back sort of operator when standing, yet somehow found myself front and centre of the stage thanks to Arianna’s amazing snaking-through-people skills. There was an air of uncertainty as to what people expected from the gig, as Raury is the new kid on the block and needs to pave his own path.
As the lights dimmed, and the muttering of the crowd subsided, I was caught off guard by what was most definitely the loudest drum snare of all time. Beginning the concert with the first song from Indigo Child, “War pt. 1”, Raury commanded the stage from the get-go, as his fellow guitarists and drummer were also completely absorbed in their performance. Following up with “Superfly” and “Woodcrest Manor” (my personal favourite), Raury was filled with emotion which I rarely see in musicians these days. He was possessed by something “Higher”, a track he features on with SBTRKT, and maintained that intensity throughout.
For those who feel rock ‘n’ roll and the values it upholds are slowly dying, witnessing Raury in concert would lay all those concerns to bed. He is a rock ‘n’ roll star at heart, and is trying to reintroduce the idea of “Sticking it to The Man”, (School of Rock was on TV the other night hence me being able to quote the movie) through this movement of indigo children. “Superfly”, a crowd favourite charged everyone up for the song most youths relate to on some level, “God’s Whisper”. I was in a state of disbelief that at such a young age, Raury was able to address complex human emotions of loss, guilt, etc, and perform with so much honesty and energy, engaging with the crowd. As he went off stage and shouts of “Raury” and “Encore” echoed through Howler, I was curious about what he would come back and do, as all of his big songs had been checked off. Yet out of nowhere, Raury ran back on stage, jumped into the crowd and started singing “God’s Whisper” again. He was showing us that he is just like us. He is part of the crowd as well, not someone who is larger than life, but just one of us. There is a very fine line between being arrogant and exuding confidence in your ability to be great. Raury is an artist who truly believes he is the beginning of something special, and only time will tell what that something special will be.
Forever and ever, Suthan