New ‘n’ National | James Blake | House of Blues | 5/8/13
By: Cassandra Chernin
Last night at House of Blues, I had the honor and privilege of seeing James Blake live. Blake has been renowned for interweaving the genres of soul music and electronic. He is an extremely well trained musician who studied music at Goldsmiths, University of London and has worked with R&S Records – this education is clearly seen through his show.
Blake sits in a dim light, surrounded by fog, and strikes the piano. The stage is silent, enamored, and lost in the sound. And for the 90 minutes he plays and the crowd is taken on a journey.
“The shifting of beats, the intermittent bass, and Blake’s clear tremendous voice singing his melancholic lyrics semed to grip at the heart strings of every person.”
He doesn’t do dance. He takes this genre of music that spits out the now popular and mainstream dance floor hits and transforms it into a collection of eerie melodies. A song can continue on its slow beginning or change entirely – almost a dance beat. Blake manages to take an incredibly hard mellow electronic genre and creates a masterpiece of a show. Complete with soft and hard lighting, he was also joined by a drummer playing an electronic drum set and a guitarist who doubled on a synthesizer.
James played multiple songs from James Blake and Retrograde including even CMYK a highlight that was a great interlude between the slower more mellow tunes. Every time a song ended, you never knew what was going to happen. Many shows follow a similar pattern highlights in the beginning and the end. You never knew with Blake what was going to come next.
As the night ended, Blake played “Retrograde” to roaring applause, crooning out the lyrics “You’re on your own / in a world you’ve grown / few more years to go / don’t let the hurdle fall” as the show came to a close. He returned quickly to play “The Wilhelm Scream” one of his most popular hits.
Finally, James Blake truly showed off his incredible talent as a musician and a singer – singing Joni Mitchell’s classic song “A Casie of You”. Alone on the stage, his voice carried through the House of Blues and wrapped everyone in a euphoric melancholy.
The crowd left House of Blues buzzing over the incredible performance and quality in James’s music. I without a doubt, will see him again soon.
- James Blake – Retrograde (allnaturalbeats.com)
- James Blake – Overgrown (franbotham.wordpress.com)
- REVIEWED: James Blake – “Overgrown” (mattneric.com)
- James Blake Performs ‘Retrograde’ on Letterman [Watch] (wxrt.cbslocal.com)
- Digital Lion: The State of James Blake (frontpsych.com)