Bree Runway review: Expect to see her playing arenas soon

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Bree Runway at Colours Hoxton  (Qavi Reyez)
Bree Runway at Colours Hoxton (Qavi Reyez)

Bree Runway really has no business playing a venue as intimate as Colours. Named Best New International Act at the BET Awards back in June, the Hackney-raised singer/rapper counts Doja Cat, Cardi B, Missy Elliott, and Lady Gaga as admirers, and only the other week made a cameo in the video for Chlöe Bailey’s much-hyped solo single Have Mercy, appearing alongside Beyoncé’s mother Tina Knowles-Lawson, no less.

None of this was lost on last night’s 300-capacity audience whose collective enthusiasm bordered on unbridled hysteria throughout, even if Bree herself couldn’t quite believe her luck. The Ghanaian-British star admitted to tearing-up backstage beforehand, explaining, “I saw a video of the queue [outside] and I was like, ‘How do they know me?’”

The answer is the bulletproof, pop-rap brilliance of Bree’s output to date, be that her 2019 EP Be Runway, or last year’s incendiary mixtape 2000AND4EVA. The focus fell largely on the latter for last night’s ruthlessly flab-free, 40-minute set, with satisfyingly rock-heavy renditions of big singles Little Nokia and Apeshit further bolstered by powerful live drumming and guitar, and the reggae-tinged Rolls Royce scattered with air horns.

Resplendent in a leather-look corset, lime green acrylics and a waist-length wig streaked in shades of cobalt - and flanked by two dancers performing high-energy choreography - Bree’s stage presence was more than a match for the domineering arrangements. Indeed, her slick moves, powerhouse vocals and arena-ready audience exchanges only hinted at the 28-year-old’s stadium-sized ambitions.

For Hot Hot, she handed over the pre-chorus to the audience, who bellowed every line back at her at approximately 10 times the volume. During Booty - an as-yet-unreleased song featuring an enjoyably body-positive vocal hook, perfect for TikTok - Bree pulled two audience members up onstage for a dance-off, and took selfies with each of them afterwards. “You don’t understand, I love you so much,” said one fan, visibly trembling in her presence, perfectly encapsulating the awe she already inspires.

Quite right too, for performances like these prove that Bree is every bit as worthy of devotion as any of her A-list admirers. Expect to see her playing arenas very soon.

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