review | tate mcrae live in manchester

There is something nostalgic about watching Tate McRae perform at the Manchester Apollo, not least because of the demographic: it’s wall-to-wall teenage girls, many of whom are living out that first-gig magic in real time. She comes on stage to an explosion of screams and phone cameras primed to record. Dressed in an oversized hockey jersey, she launched straight into a high-energy set.

McRae started out as a dancer, and while there’s nothing particularly original about her moves on stage, the hair tosses and silhouette freezes are executed to perfection. Her Think Later world tour is first and foremost an opportunity to show off her great songs, and with two albums under her belt the 20-year-old Canadian certainly isn’t short of those. Although there are some pacing issues — an uninterrupted string of ballads early in the set deflates things a bit — the second half of her set keeps the bangers coming thick and fast. Cut My Hair, Exes and Run for the Hills all remind us of what McRae does best which is to repackage old pop tropes and make them sound fresh for a new generation.

This approach informs everything from the staging, which included a simple set-up of two large and illuminated cubes, to vocals that were a little too slick for comfort. It was refreshing to see McRae break free from choreography and hop excitedly across stage during Guilty Conscience. As the encore Greedy ends and McRae thanks the crowd, the genuine enjoyment in her voice makes it clear that the love between the star and her fans is mutual.

photography. Beth Saravo
words. Tom Kingsley

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