Live Review: Rhodes – London


Electrowerkz, London,  26th April 2016

Words: Claire Healey

rhodes claire healeyCurrently in the midst of writing his next album, Rhodes took to the violet hues of Islington’s packed out Electrowerkz last week to surprise fans with an intimate array of both new ideas and nostalgic numbers. With tickets having sold out in only a matter of hours, it seemed that since his last teeming London show at KOKO back in October, devoted fans had been waiting both anxiously and with baited breath for his return. A fact that was made clear when one unfortunate audience member fell victim to the venues muggy confines before the main man had even arrived on stage.

Armed with just an electric guitar, his voice and friend Tommy Ashby on bass, Rhodes opened with the hauntingly reverb-soaked echoes of Losing it. Often said by critics to bear similarities to the raw vocal acrobatics of Jeff Buckley, Rhodes stretched and swirled each note with ease; fluctuating effortlessly between a delicate waver and an intense howl. As his voice reverberated around the room, it seemed almost crazy that such power could emanate from something as minimalistic as one man and his guitar.

Easing the crowd in steadily with the familiarity of his older material, Better and Close Your Eyes were welcomed with fervent cheers, whilst melancholic favourites such as the powerful Your Soul and the emotionally charged Breathe had audience members stunned into revered silence. Newer songs were interspersed throughout the set, almost apprehensively, as Rhodes spoke of first gig nerves; a feeling which did not appear to translate into his performance. Neither in the powerful belt of Wildfire or during Propeller, a piano ballad with rasping vocals that spiralled slowly into the air with each heartfelt lyric.

Flying, or Be The Bird, as one audience member suggested of the as of yet untitled track, stood as the most noteworthy of Rhodes’ new material. An emotionally-driven narrative about looking over someone, nestled in simple and sweetly plucked acoustics. ‘Promise me you’ll keep going!’ he sang. A sentiment that resonated with each audience member, as they watched this extraordinary man take an even firmer hold of their hearts. If his debut Wishes was a collection of songs dedicated to overcoming his own fears and doubts, these new tracks were certainly a momentum for others to spread their own wings.

Closing the set with Turning Back Around and the masterfully melancholic Morning it was clear that Rhodes had developed in sound and stage persona. With an emotional potency both intimate and anthemic in delivery, Rhodes is sure to be the next guitar wielding male to really take a hold of the musical mainstream.




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