When the ele­ments come togeth­er and the stars per­fect­ly align, you have to take full advan­tage of the moment. Such is the sit­u­a­tion Rachel Mor­ri­son and Tom Mor­ri­son found them­selves in ear­li­er this year: a chance encounter with a group of Brazil­ian musi­cians pro­vid­ed the ide­al com­bi­na­tion to rein­vent Bliss, the band that she so suc­cess­ful­ly cre­at­ed in the late 80s and which has been part of Rachel and Tom over the years.

The sto­ry goes that in March this year, a jam night at one of their favourite pubs, The Bohemia in north Finch­ley, start­ed innocu­ous­ly enough but then the house band invit­ed Rachel and Tom to play a cou­ple of clas­sic soul num­bers with them – and the mag­ic just hap­pened. Such was the chem­istry, Rachel and Tom asked the Brazil­ian out­fit if they would join them for some gigs and now Bliss is back, cen­tre stage. A new ener­gy is born. As a friend whis­pered to me at the start of this lat­est per­for­mance, “Rachel is on fire”.

The Bliss gig at Nam­buc­ca this week demon­strat­ed Blis­s’s pow­er and extra­or­di­nary energy.

Rachel and Tom allow us to ease gen­tly into the set with an acoustic and focused start: three of their own com­po­si­tions includ­ing the creepy Stalk­er, plus Paul Weller’s You Do Some­thing to Me. As for the evening’s star her­self, it is evi­dent that the pow­er and con­trol of Rachel’s expres­sive and soul­ful voice remain a force.

Rachel Morrison of Bliss at Nambucca north London

The full band set fol­lowed, and grad­u­al­ly things start to ramp up. Set wise, Bliss decide to show­case a col­lec­tion of their own com­po­si­tions, pep­pered with some soul and blues clas­sics. Pos­i­tive Reac­tion pro­vides just that, it’s a slinky, sexy and play­ful blues num­ber writ­ten by Rachel and Tom. Six­ties clas­sic Your Good Thing per­fect­ly show­cas­es Rachel’s soar­ing vocals; there’s plen­ty of scope for inter­pre­ta­tion and the band exploit this to the full.

Rachel casu­al­ly reveals on stage that they have only had four rehearsals. It is all quite gob­s­mack­ing – but it’s pre­cise­ly the nov­el­ty and fresh­ness of it all that is dri­ving this rein­car­na­tion. And it is also allow­ing them to approach clas­sic soul num­bers like I’d Rather Go Blind and pro­duce some­thing vibrant rather than stuck in a timewarp.

My per­son­al favourite is Lib­er­ty, one of Rachel and Tom’s ear­li­er penned songs, with drum­mer Rey­nal­do Migli­avac­ca Neto on box drum; the song has a mys­ti­cal, smokey, psy­che­del­ic feel (Julie Driscoll could have done with this num­ber as a fol­low-up to This Wheel’s on Fire) and it brings a dif­fer­ent vibe to the set. I Hear you Call is the clos­ing num­ber – a pow­er­ful anthemic swag­ger of a song with echoes of Janis Joplin in the lush vocal deliv­ery (it is also the num­ber that the house band remem­ber from the time it was a hit in Brazil).

It’s been a lengthy set, but we are left want­i­ng more, which is how it should be. Hope­ful­ly new dates are being lined up as we speak.

Rachel Mor­ri­son – vocals | Tom E Mor­ri­son – gui­tars | Edu Bisa Bisog­no – key­boards | Kita Steuer – bass/ bv | Rey­nal­do Migli­avac­ca Neto – drums

Check out their new web­site here Bliss

Insta­gram and Face­book www.facebook.com/blis­s­rachel­mor­ri­son


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