Rachel Platten w/Archie Smith, Bush Hall, 19/1

A 400-capacity venue in Shepherd’s Bush, London was the setting for Rachel Platten’s first UK show in support of her recently-released “Wildfire” album.

Support for the night was from Archie Smith who, whilst doing his fair share of support acts had remained unknown to myself prior to the evening. So I only have myself to blame for not recognising the poor fella when he came on stage with zero fanfare and, although I was a little distracted, my first thought was that he was a rather smartly dressed roadie doing some final checks on the equipment! Archie proceeded to blow me completely out of the water, armed as he was with just a keyboard, a drum/sound-effect type gizmo and a laptop and yet his songs were well-constructed, flowed effortlessly and kept the audience engaged throughout. A few short but well-timed anecdotes regarding a couple of the songs filled in some background, especially for the “Take Me To Paris” number, kept the crowd listening intently and appreciatively. “Losing My Way” was a personal highlight and after Archie’s set, I noticed people around me downloading the video on YouTube! Credit has to go to Archie once his set was completed, as, after clearing the stage (with a less well-dressed roadie!) he then came into the crowd and spent some time chatting to, no doubt new, fans and posing for a string of selfies

After a short break, and Rachel Platten bounds on stage, not looking like a roadie at all. Appearing a little nervous at first, she soon got into her stride and her vocals shone through. It’s no surprise with the size of the venue, but I felt the stage was far too small for Rachel and her 2 backing musicians in addition to the keyboard which Rachel would play later on the set. Everything just felt a little cramped. The highlights of her first album were all played at a high tempo ending with her 2 releases, “Stand By You” and “Fight Song”. It was no surprise that the latter got the loudest cheer of the night, and due to it’s inspirational lyrics being sung by the majority of the crowd, meant that Rachel almost had nothing to do for those 3-and-a-half minutes barring prowling what little space there was on the stage giving cues to the audience. The high-tempo blast through the songs meant that the gig was over within around 45 minutes which, due to the quality of the two acts, seemed a little short and seemed to dampen some of the crowd towards the end. I certainly wasn’t the only one who thought that there was time for a couple more songs, but I guess she followed the old adage of leaving the crowd wanting more – it certainly worked

So what’s next for these two? Rachel starts a US tour in February until April and although Rachel said at her gig she would be returning to the UK, there’s no news as yet. Archie has his first headline show at the beginning of May, with the venue details still to be released. This will certainly be one to attend…

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