Gig review: Rachel Chinouriri at Metronome

Words: Karl Blakesley
Photos: Olivia Hannant
Wednesday 08 May 2024
reading time: min, words

Now 25 and having made music since she was 17, Rachel Chinouriri’s road to her debut album has been a long one. But through pandemics and label battles, the day has finally arrived where the Brit/alt-pop singer-songwriter’s first record, What A Devastating Turn of Events, is finally out in the world. To see her celebrate the occasion, we headed to Metronome for her album launch show…


“Thank you all for coming along on the day of my album release!” exclaims an energised Rachel Chinouriri as she takes to the Metronome stage, the small-but-vocal crowd cheering back at her beaming face. Having had her debut album ready-to-go in 2019, the Covid-pandemic meant that record ended up being scrapped, with Rachel having to take a five-year detour to this very moment. You can tell how much it means to her, and the Notts crowd in attendance show they’re here to help Rachel mark this special occasion, as she conducts them: “This one’s called The Hills – let’s all scream it together to celebrate the day!” As she breaks into one of the album’s early singles, the audience oblige and belt the chorus along with her.

It's an acoustic set-up tonight, with Rachel supported by one guitarist and another musician switching between bass, guitar and piano, with both of them helping with backing vocals too. It’s an arrangement that really spotlights Rachel’s immense talent, her soft vocal tones soaring and echoing around the Metronome. “I was about to say this song is not out yet – but it is” she says, still getting used to the fact her debut is now available for all to hear. She then launches into Robbed, a beautifully devastating song about her six-year-old niece who tragically passed far too soon. As she sings the chorus “You were robbed of summer, and I was robbed of you” amidst pindrop silence from the respectful crowd, I find myself with the biggest lump in my throat and the hairs on my arms standing on end. As beautiful and moving a moment as I’ve experienced at a Nottingham show.

“This one’s another sad one – that’s also out!” says a giddy Rachel, clearly getting more used to her debut being available by the minute. “It’s about being more gentle with ourselves and each other” she explains, launching into a heart-wrenching rendition of My Blood, a song written about a particularly dark period of self-harm. The insight into each song Rachel gives between each performance only adds more weight to her exquisitely sung words, with her gifting plenty snippets of wisdom for the crowd too. “If you have Hinge, please delete it – or at least be careful – don’t let anyone take you for a fool” she says, introducing long-time single and crowd favourite, All I Ever Asked.

After a quick interval to wish 17-year-old Lola a Happy Birthday along with several other members of the audience who are celebrating along with Rachel, she then details some “terrible dating decisions” on album cut, Dumb Bitch Juice. It’s seemingly destined to become a fan-favourite and before launching into a gorgeous version of So My Darling straight after, she takes a moment to acknowledge the audience: “I love you all so much – thanks for coming out and sharing this monumental day with me. Remember, tomorrow is never promised.” A beautiful sentiment that only adds to the life-affirming nature of this whole evening. 


It's then time for the grand finale and the moment the crowd have been waiting for all night. “Sometimes helping people enables them – this song is about the need to take care of yourself first” explains Rachel, as she launches into her biggest single to date, Never Need Me. It’s a triumphant finish to a triumphant show, Rachel turning the microphone towards the crowd as they belt out the chorus at the top of their lungs and dance around. Then after a short Q&A session hosted by one of LeftLion’s own contributors Izzy Morris, in which Rachel reveals more about the album writing process, the record’s provocative artwork and offers invaluable advice to young black artists in the audience, she heads off stage to take photos and continue the album celebrations into the night.

As album launch shows in Nottingham go, I must say this was one of the most memorable I’ve attended. A special evening with one of Britain’s most promising and genuine popstars, full of goosebump-inducing moments, incredible songwriting insight and big singalongs from a captive audience.

Rachel Chinouriri performed at Metronome on 3rd May 2024.


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