A cornerstone of Belfast’s arts and music scene right in the heart of the Cathedral Quarter, performing at ‘The Mac’ for many artists represents a distant dream. For burgeoning alt pop starlet, Rebekah Fitch not only did she achieve her goal in what many would still describe as the infancy of her career, but she made it look easy. That is not to discredit all the months of hard work leading up to Tuesday’s career defining performance but one that many would have found difficult. A bold move by an any artist Rebekah Fitch proved that for some, taking a risk and refusing to let anyone tell you what you can achieve is exactly what the moment called for.
Opening the evening’s event is Derry’s resident songbird, Reevah. Earnestly taking her place at the front of the stage she begins her set with ‘Spaces’. Tender lyrics and even softer vocal tones are delivered in a calmly iridescent hue to a very receptive audience. A relatively new song, ‘Older Now’ is performed in a lower register than we are used to hearing Reevah sing. Proving a welcomed change, it helps to highlight Reevah’s impressive vocal range and intensify her dreamy aesthetic. Often, it seems as though acts feel pressure to move hurriedly through their set but Reevah has this ability to make it feel as though time is standing still with her pensively poised performance.
Inviting the rest of her band to the stage they begin with the ever atmospheric and riveting ‘Nights’. Instantly changing the dynamic, we are treated to amplified adaptations of Reevah’s songs, enhancing the folky simplicity. A culmination of both Reevah’s pop and country instincts, ‘Runaway’ is elevated with dynamic drums and crooning guitar. The openness of the Mac’s downstairs theatre provides the perfect space for Reevah’s amplified voice to float through the audience. New song ‘26’ which will be released at the end of the month is particularly poignant and I believe marks the new era of Reevah’s journey as a songwriter. Closing her set with ‘Daydreamer’ the song builds to its dramatic conclusion with Reevah’s typical high and haunting vocal melodies.
A brief break ensures the audience return eager for the performance to begin. The stage shrouded in darkness adds to the suspense as playful lights bounce across the theatre and set the scene. Emerging onto the stage with her trademark soaring vocal, Rebekah both looks and acts every bit the self- assured popstar. Moving with coolness towards the front of the stage she takes her position at the keyboard. Starting her set with ‘Another Show’ it is immediately obvious that this is anything but another typical performance. An explosion of pop perfection the sound begins to swell, flooding the auditorium with the assistance of her impressive band.
Gliding through her set to ‘Fake Smiles’ the high drama and quintessential pop drum beat all serve to emphasise her defining emotional vocal. Brand new song ‘Poison’ considers all those outside influences that have managed to gain power over our true purpose. A creatively charged rendition of the song the ominous undertones add a little darkness to the otherwise bright affair. Surprising the audience by surging into ‘Gimme Shelter’ by the Rolling Stones the song is sustained by rumbling drums and roaring vocals.
Introducing new track ‘Enigma’ Rebekah moves away from her keyboard weaving in and around the stage. A visceral force of nature it’s not hard to imagine her holding down even bigger venues with her fiery stage presence. With the band briefly leaving the stage we are left with just Rebekah and her string ensemble. A poignant performance of ‘Afraid of the Light’ there is a profound passion in her vocal which along with the strings is simply beautiful. Similar to a lot of Rebekah’s songs the lyrics are introspective and carry a raw sentiment through to the audience. The band return just in time for ‘Need to Feel’ and again we are re-introduced to the beguiling stage show.
Leaving the stage in darkness the same way she began the reaction from the audience is a crowd desperate for more. Returning for an encore Rebekah sincerely thanks the audience for one of the best nights of her life. Leaving us with a message of hope, she begins ‘Hosanna’ and has a similar feel to being present at a religious homily both musically and lyrically. Ending in epic fashion with ‘Love So Crazy’, Rebekah receives a much-deserved standing ovation from the audience for her whole performance. A majestic affair with one of Northern Ireland’s most auspicious hopefuls, it is a triumph in every sense of the word. There is always a moment in an artist’s career when it becomes clear that they are destined for bigger things, tonight in the Mac was Rebekah Fitch’s.