Au/Ra sets the standard as she kicks off her latest tour at Brighton’s Komedia Bar.
Following promising support from up-and-coming singer-songwriter CHARLOTTE, Au/Ra (real name Jamie Lou Stenzel) appears just off-stage, looking mysterious in a full assassin-esque outfit. Complete with a black face mask, the young Antiguan wasted no time in bursting into her latest single, Assassin and the maturity of her vocals – backed by her adoring fans – immediately became apparent. The deep bass in the electronic dance genre of her music injects energy into the room and, accompanied by the intimate venue, there was a charged atmosphere.
From the off, the tracks seemed to fly by. This was until the evening presented the humorous Drake, which as Au/Ra described through anecdote, was written after the well-known rapper/singer-songwriter declined her friend request on the PlayStation Network. This gathered a huge reaction from the audience, maintained by Au/Ra’s natural stage-presence through the following tracks Emoji and Medicine. This energy was further upheld into White Knuckles, a track which features on the X Games EP.
By this point in the set, an overly zealous fan at the very centre-front of the crowd had interrupted the performance multiple times, however yet again Au/Ra used her inexplicable confidence and maturity on stage to avoid distractions, and dealt with the bantering ‘heckler’ calmly and professionally.
During her performance, it became clear that her persona is influenced by anime and fantasy, which can clearly be heard in the lyrics and the overall feel of her music. Escapism is a common theme, and with her green hair and distinctive outfit, her style clearly finds its roots in the anime fandom.
Saving her most popular songs for the end of the set, the singer delivered a piano version of Darkside, a track well-known for its lead-artist Alan Walker, and Outsiders. Following this came the moment many had been waiting for, Panic Room. After its initial release in February 2018, the British DJ duo Camelphat got hold of it and re-released it, with credit being given to both artists. From here the track soared to success, reaching number 30 in the UK Singles Charts – not bad for a then 13-year-old Jamie Lou Stenzel. Expectedly, the room erupted into song and dance, with every member of the crowd singing the lyrics back to the green-haired youngster on stage. Bringing things back down for the final song, Au/Ra performed the relaxed and calming Concrete Jungle, leaving the stage soon after to prepare for meet and greets.
The intimacy of the venue and modest crowd allowed for a warm and friendly vibe throughout the gig, and it was proven that Au/Ra really cares for her fans. Moreover, regardless of her age, there is nothing amateur or unprofessional about her performance and her quick rise to fame is clearly justified after seeing her live. I have absolutely no doubt she will go from strength to strength from here.