Photo by Talia Andrea
Since the release of her debut mixtape 2000AND4EVA in November 2020, Bree Runway’s career has only ever been on the up. Fittingly, she starts her set at Electric Brixton with the album’s first track, ‘APESHIT’, which was also the first to garner major critical acclaim and spread the word about Bree across social media, attracting attention from internationally-renowned ‘Goddess of Rap’ Missy Elliott after all of the comparisons made between them.
Now, Bree Runway has the potential to become a household name; her live show on the 14th of March only proves it. She struts across the stage like she owns it with unparalleled stage presence, accompanied by four backup dancers that bring energy to the set with their non-stop choreography. Bree is in a bodysuit which is just as fiercely fashionable as one would expect from her, the fringing on the fabric catching attention wherever and whenever she moves; as she and her girl gang parade around, you can’t help but feel that everywhere she walks really is a runway (just like she says on the next song, and her latest single, ‘Pressure’). A film crew and more photographers than ever are standing in the photo pit, following her every move. Even the venue’s security guard—who had been standing motionless until now, likely waiting for the end of his shift—can’t help but turn to look.
Bree Runway might be a pop and rap star when heard on the radio, but live, her sound tends almost oddly towards rock. This unprecedented change in genre for the stage demonstrates just how much thought goes into adapting her artistry for a live audience. Her touring band consists only of a drummer, and a multi-instrumentalist on guitar, keytar and an electronic drum pad—although there’s something of the avant-garde about Bree, she doesn’t go over the top just for the sake of it. She also knows how to share the spotlight: the guitarist has a number of opportunities to shred, launching into an impressive solo of his own during a cover of Tame Impala’s ‘Love/Paranoia’. It’s not a song you would expect to hear among hard-hitting rap hits like ‘GUCCI’ and ‘HOT HOT’, or from Bree at all, but she pulls it off as if the song was hers all along.
It’s her style to resist pigeonholing in exactly this way. After the hype generated by her first few songs, she dials things back to make an honest admission. “This next song is unreleased,” she says, giving the audience hope for a new album at some point in the not-so-distant future; an expectation which she describes as “that time in your career where everything that was easy for you turns hard”. “This year with everything I’m doing, I wanna show you guys more and more sides of me, and a side I hadn’t really invited you into was the ‘lovergirl’ side,” she says by way of introducing the new song: a low-key ballad-style track titled ‘Somebody Like You’.
As versatile as Bree Runway is, you wonder which sides of herself she has left to show from here; all you know is that you don’t want her to stop. “We can go all night,” she invites the audience to sing during the last song of her (surprisingly short) set, the sultry ‘All Night’. Witnessing a live performance as flawless as hers, you can only wish that was true.
Photos by Talia Andrea