Less than two weeks after he opened for Hozier in Paris, Rhodes crosses the Channel again, this time for his solo tour. His first album Wishes was released in September 2015, and his moving songs make it a stunning LP. I first heard him in June 2015, when he was touring with George Ezra and stopped by the Olympia for a night, and so I couldn’t wait to see his headline show.
The Maroquinerie must be my favourite venue. Doesn’t matter where you’re standing, you will always have a clear view of the stage, and you quickly bond with the 450 or so people who can fit in this basement. His support act, Tommy Ashby, comes from Scotland and sings us a few songs from his EP, which is available for purchase at the merch stand. His style is melancholic and full of potential that yet remains to be developed. He submerges us in the perfect mood to welcome Rhodes.
As I said earlier, he is all by himself on stage, with nothing but his guitar. As usual, he starts with Intro and we progressively enter his universe. Then, he moves forward with Close Your Eyes, which the crowd knows and sings with him –but not too loud. A quiet intimacy has formed between him and us, and we cannot help but want to be discreet.
Alone, he embodies all the emotions he conveys. He sometimes trade his guitar for the piano, and for these songs Tommy Ashby joins him to play the guitar, like for Let It All Go. Rhodes is one of those singers who have a rather expressive singing face. He lives the song as he plays each note, and that is probably why the live version of his album surpasses the studio version, even when we thought it couldn’t be possible. He ends his set on Breathe and the crowd loses it during this amazing note at the end of the bridge, which he holds for a very, very long time. He comes back for the encore and plays Run, and eventually Morning, which leaves us in a dream-like state.
Both Rhodes and Tommy stay after the show to chat with the fans, about the gig, about music in general. I thank Rhodes for this very authentic version of his songs he gave us, a version that is more “stripped to the bone” as he said himself, and I exit the Maroquinerie with my a signed vinyl and a fast-paced heartbeat.
2 Close Your Eyes
3 Raise Your Love
4 You And I
6 Your Soul
8 Losing It
9 Turning Back Around
10 Let It All Go