It may be cold, windy and damp outside on the streets of Manchester, but inside the 250 capacity venue, the Deaf Institute, the temperature couldn’t be more different. With support act D/C setting the tone for the night with their soulful cool vibes and catchy pop riffs, the Atlantic Records signed singer gets the audience hot and sweaty ready for Anne-Marie, Rudimental’s main female vocalist, to set the stage.
Wasting no time, the three times world karate champion jumps straight in with the lead single off her first EP, Karate. Explaining how nervous she is about the opening night of her first solo tour, Anne-Marie shows little sign of it in her vocals, leading into the second track off her EP, Gemini, a heavily influenced 90s R&B track. Rounding up the EP with the first ballad of the night, Stole, Anne-Marie cannot help but well up – “that was quite emotional. I can’t help it. I always get a tear in my eye.”
Tonight is a big night for Anne-Marie. Having only performed one solo gig prior to this, there’s reason for her to be nervous; this is her opportunity to show the audience the solo artist she wants to be. New track, Breathing Fire, goes down a storm and, as described by her, is what the upcoming album is going to be like.
Next up is an audience favourite, Boy, a song about a guy she once liked who turned out to be gay – sad times. The light-hearted poppy tuunnee (her words) brings a smile to the audience who are seen dancing and singing along to every word.
Back to another ballad and this time it’s a track recently performed for SBTV, Gentleman. With raw emotion oozing from every word, yet again Anne-Marie can’t fight back the tears. It is clear that tonight she is leaving everything on stage and is giving absolutely everything she’s got.
The hour-long show is like a rollercoaster with highs of fiery hip-hop style songs that are performed with a bucketful of sass to emotional ballads that leave the audience hanging on her every word. Then there’s the bumpy patch of the rollercoaster, which in this case is the sound of Ferrero Rocher’s being caught and bouncing off the floor. Yes, Anne-Marie brought chocolates to her gig, lobbing them into the audience and encouraging her fans to “have a munch.” This is the sign of a laid back girl who is here to have a laugh (take note fellow musicians – you can’t go wrong if you bring some chocolates along with you!)
It is obvious to see that tonight is fully about her. The only sign of a Rudimental hit is when the crowd start chanting for the drum and bass group’s latest single Rumour Mill, which leads to an impromptu jam from her and her band – “f*ck it let’s do it.” This memorable laid-back version is a high point in the set and allows her fans to sing along with her in an intimate environment.
Ending with her latest single, Do It Right, Anne-Marie keeps up the energy right until the end and doesn’t disappoint. It’s no surprise that she is hotly tipped as someone to look out for in 2016. With a stand-out voice and a bunch of great tracks under her belt, this year is sure to be a significant one for her. With her debut album set to be released later this year and a support slot on Rudimental’s world tour, Anne-Marie is sure to be a busy lady. If she continues in this style and keeps the grace and laughter that she portrayed on stage tonight, there can only be good things in store for her.