Tate McCrae – Shed 10: July 24, 2022 (Concert Review)

Tate McRae delivered a high-powered kinetic pop performance to a packed Shed 10 audience on Auckland’s waterfront on a windy and wet Sunday evening.

The big industrial space was full as I arrived, half an hour before the support act. This was a night for teen girls predominantly. And younger. Some boyfriends, brothers, parents in tow.

I was expecting the screams to overwhelm the space when the musicians hit the stage, but surprisingly it didn’t

Stupid. Tate McRae bounces on to the stage, a diminutive package of teen energy. Keep on coming back to you/ So stupid for you. Infectious pop groove beats to the fore, minimalist skeletal backing from the guitars, drums and synths which all serve the rhythm. Sets the tone for the night.

Tate Rosner McRae is Canadian, and has been performing one way or another, before she was five.  She is barely nineteen now. Her mother teaches multiple styles of dance. McRae is also a gifted ballerina, winning a scholarship to the Berlin State Ballet.

Of course, she started writing songs and experimenting in her bedroom, like many current young artists.

What Would You Do and R U OK. Three young dancers accompany her. Two girls and a guy. All wear the same outfit. The groove beat is dominant, but the music is not laden down and soars in simple Pop fashion. Dancing is hyper-kinetic and aerobic, and generates heat effortlessly.

McRae has an infectious and commanding stage presence for such a young artist. But she has the large crowd on a string. The mass of hands reaching up to her are all teen high school girls.

Jack Gray

Jack Gray has the stage to himself first and receives a massive cheer. He’s a handsome young lad from North Queensland, so he is a good choice to warm up the crowd tonight. Whilst it is a bitter night outside, the young girls here are dressed for summers here and the time is right for dancin’ in the street.

The first brace of songs are generally quiet melodic pop played with a ringing tone electric guitar. The voice is a smooth and easy baritone, but he effortlessly slides up into the higher register, not quite a falsetto.

It takes a couple of tunes to get the levels right for sound in this huge industrial hangar. One Step Back is a highlight of his set. Dreamy and melodic Indie pop with recorded backing beats. When he hits the high voice one step back/ Right before I lose myself, the song lifts off. Reminding me a little of the DMA’s from Sydney

When he plays an acoustic guitar, he sounds like a Folkie. Then he gets plainly soulful and emotional playing a keyboard.

Gets a genuinely warm farewell as he finishes his set.

Tate McRae

All My Friends are Fake and Bad Ones. The performances are theatrical and choregraphed to precision. That only adds to their dramatic effect.

One Day is a genuine ballad, where she gets a break from the frenetic dancing, and we get to hear a fine tenor voice.

There are half a dozen songs off her new album I used to think I could fly.

I Wanna Be and Boy X. Of course, she listens to many of the current big names in Pop, and repeatedly cites Taylor Swift as a huge songwriting influence. There is a distinct resemblance to Lady Gaga in her voice here, matched with sophisticated lyrics.

Maybe the best is Chaotic. Being lonely’s worse than just having friends that don’t care.

Relentlessly groove-orientated dance pop with music that is stripped of all extraneous elements. There are distinctive echoes of the explosion that was Motown, and Please Mister Postman delivering the message to Beatlemania.

Tate McRae closes the show with You Broke Me First. A low-register bass rumble resonating nicely with the ecstatic young fans leaping about deliriously in the thrall of a great pop show.

Rev Orange Peel      

Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Ginelle Cocks and the kind people at Ambient Light:

Taite McRae:

Jack Gray: