Do It Again…

13 Jul

On my way now to see James Blake for the second time, I’ll write a formal post later. :)

Update: Ok, I get that marriages between humans and animals are a no-go, but what’s the judicial standpoint on human and vocal matrimonies? Because, really, I could take or leave James Blake as a whole (that’s a lie, he’s pretty lovely as a complete package), but HIS VOICE! That’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout.

He’s the kind of artist that I don’t listen to super frequently on my own “just because”, but I could listen to live for days on end. Weeks on end. Months. Have him follow me around all day and songify my every moment…

I saw him for the first time back in May (the 11th, to be exact) at The Bowery on a bit of a whim. It was a last minute get, a friend of a friend was dropping off my ticket at the door, I couldn’t find them, I fretted, I forgot to breathe, I remembered to breathe, etc. After that rocky start the stars aligned and I got in the venue just as the opener was finishing and wormed my way to the front. His keyboards (he had two, one facing the audience and one perpendicular to his right) were set up to the right of the stage, so that was where I shot for. Aim… shoot… score! Got a great view, right in between two ridiculously tall people who had no business being that close. Rock concert etiquette guys, is musical chivalry dead? Not my problem though, I was good to go. Engines revving.

Even though he was geographically to the right of the stage, James Blake was unquestionably the focal point of the show. Yeah, there was a drummer in the central back and a guy on guitar to the left, but even if they’d been 8 foot tall giraffes with laser-vision they couldn’t have stolen James’ spotlight. He’s got charisma from 100 feet away. When he plays the keyboards, you can feel his soul exploding.

What I like most about his style is how he incorporates a (this is my bias talking) boring, overrated music form (substep) with one of the most powerful genres (soul) into a lovely fusion that translates Rosetta Stone-style to the stage. My favorite number from this first James-sighting was “Lindesfarne II”- on the album it’s most simply him singing “beacon don’t fly too high” over and over, adding beats and effects for its duration. When he played it live, he sang the verse into the mike, and pressed some of the pretty keys on his keyboard and sound box. Then, the verse would play back with a shiny, new effect (like echo, differing pitch, reverb, etc.) added. Then he’d sing again, add a different effect to that take, and layer all these bits together. The effect was so cool, and the exact reason I love concerts. I got something that went skyscrapers above the album version, it was a familiar concept with a new coat of paint. A coat of paint that make it glow in the dark, speak 8 foreign languages, and basically have superpowers.

Currently listening to: Coats of paint with superpowers, common name Limit to Your Love by James Blake

One Response to “Do It Again…”


  1. The Man with All the Toys… (Maintaining Humility with Success) « Blog Only Knows - August 3, 2011

    […] first time in recent memory when this topic came up was at the first James Blake concert I attended, back in February at the Bowery Ballroom. The concert came, the concert went, and it was time for […]

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