Reneé Rapp 'Snow Hard Feelings' Tour in London and Intimate Acoustic Show REVIEW

Saturday 9 March 2024

Reneé Rapp's Snow Hard Feelings Tour
Eventim Apollo, Camden Roundhouse and Banquet Records

Having followed Reneé Rapp since 2018 and attending her debut London show last year, I snapped up tickets for her London residency in an instant and waited with extreme levels of excitement to see her perform again. It's funny having watched someone for so long, you feel a strange sense of pride without even knowing them personally. Perhaps with Reneé it's even stronger because of her connection to us fans that makes her feel almost like a friend, even on the other side of the Atlantic. So, going into the weekend I knew it was going to be special, but it turned out to be so much more than that.

From her breakout role as Regina George in Mean Girls on Broadway and then the recent film adaptation, to her portrayal of Leighton in the charmingly relevant The Sex Lives of College Girls series, to her acclaimed debut album, Rapp has grown from strength to strength, gaining an adoring fanbase along the way, and always staying true to her values of honesty and integrity. Last year her first full length album was released to much critical acclaim (snubbed by the Grammy's, but we move) and this tour was a testament to her evolution as an artist, and a celebration of her impressive musical intuition and writing skills. I won't go into depth because we'd be here forever but for me it's a no skip album that perfectly blends elements of pop, rock, and theatre to create a spellbinding journey. Lyrically it hits hard and musically it offers variety and so much melodic interest whilst still retaining a very Reneé feel.

Watching last year's concert, with music from Rapp's EP 'Everything to Everyone' it was hard to imagine it could get better but with time, it seems Renee has grown in confidence and truly proves to be born for the stage. Two of the shows I saw (Hammersmith Apollo and Camden Roundhouse) were part of the Snow Hard Feelings Tour, which included a mixture of songs from both releases. During these full production concerts, Rapp commanded attention with her dynamic vocals and infectious energy, delivering unforgettable performances, supported by her brilliant band and excellent lighting and video design. 

But it was Rapp's acoustic performance at Banquet Records that truly showcased her vocal prowess and artistry. Stripped of elaborate production, Rapp delivered soul-stirring renditions of her songs, allowing her powerhouse vocals to take centre stage. With each note, she demonstrated remarkable control and nuance, effortlessly navigating through intricate melodies and emotive lyrics. Her performance was a masterclass in vocal performance, with faultless transitions between delicate falsetto and powerful belting.

I've always been in awe of Reneé's vocal technique, from her rounded vowels, to her impeccable breath control, phrasing and healthy belt, so getting a chance to witness it close up felt really special. Vocally she shone in all three shows, but there's really something magical about an acoustic show, with only a few hundred people all living in the moment and experiencing someone's innate talent. This show's version of 'Snow Angel' will go down as one of my favourite live vocals I've ever heard. 

Throughout the shows, Rapp's authenticity and vulnerability were palpable. Whether sharing personal stories or engaging in playful banter with the crowd, she created an intimate connection that made everyone feel like old friends. Despite the occasional interruptions caused by fainting fans, Rapp handled each moment with grace and humour, turning potential disruptions into endearing anecdotes. Plus, her ability to convey emotion through her vocals and infuse each lyric with depth and sincerity, creates an intimate connection with her audience. Part comedy show, part concert, you're sure to be laughing out loud and probably crying during a Reneé Rapp concert.

Music is such a community former, and these shows were testament to that. From standing in the queues to waiting in the venue for the concert to start, I got chatting to so many people and felt like I was in a room of likeminded people who just wanted to have a good time. The ethos of acceptance and friendship which Reneé fosters, trickles down to her fans, allowing the creation of a brilliantly welcoming environment. There are also a number of excellent audience chants which when screamed out, really unite the crowd, and I must say, as a Brit I feel like we really excel at these, thanks to our years of assemblies and pantomimes. The signs held up by fans added to the sense of community, but unfortunately there were many which veered into objectification. Sign culture and boundaries is a whole topic of it's own but Reneé navigated these situations with poise, reminding fans of the importance of respect; let's just hope people chill out for her next performances.

The support acts, Towa Bird and Sekou, brought their own energy to the stage, setting the perfect tone for Rapp's captivating performances. Towa Bird, with their soulful melodies and infectious energy, warmed up the crowd with their genre-bending sound, seamlessly blending elements of indie-pop and R&B. Their dynamic performance left a lasting impression, showcasing their undeniable charisma and artistry. Meanwhile, Sekou captivated audiences with his powerful vocals and heartfelt lyrics, delivering an electrifying performance. At only 19 years old, he's sure to go from strength to strength and I can't wait to see him flourish in the music industry.

As the final notes of 'Snow Angel' echoed through the venues and confetti rained down, it was clear that Rapp's London shows had left an indelible mark on all who were lucky enough to witness them. With her unparalleled talent, genuine connection to her fans, and unwavering authenticity, Reneé Rapp has proven once again why she is a force to be reckoned with. And as London basks in the afterglow of her triumphant performances, one thing is certain: the star of Reneé Rapp is only just beginning to rise. Bring on the Reneésance.

Reviewed on 1st, 2nd, 3rd March by Olivia Mitchell
Photo Credit: Olivia Mitchell