GIG REVIEW: James Blake | Margaret Court Arena | MELB | 27.7.16

Sunday, July 31, 2016

For punters who love live music, July is one of the best times of the year as Splendour in the grass comes to town. For those of you like me who did not make it this year, we were still lucky enough to have the option to see our favourite headliners perform at sideshows. 

Last night, Melbourne was treated to a spectacular show from James Blake at Margaret Court Arena. To be completely honest, I was a little reserved to see him play to a large crowd as the last time I saw him play was a few years back, I enjoyed to seeing him in an intimate venue. As soon as he started, all reservations faded away as we were all taken on a magical journey from start to finish. Every sound that was played filled that large arena impeccably. Weaving in and out of irregular beats, haunting harmonies and stunning falsettos, this performance would have to be up there with some of the best I’ve seen.  

Accompanied by his two band members on drums and keys, you could hear the difference between Blake's earlier songs from his self-titled album in 2011 to his most recent album ‘The Colour in Anything’. No matter your taste in music, Blake's sound is so well round and caters to multiple genres from electronica, 90’s trip hop, gospel, bass and contemporary RnB.

His Vocal talent is second to none and sings all of his songs- showing off his beautiful vocal range. No laptops were present on stage, and he mentioned to the crowd that all of the music we heard was completely live and played right in front of us. 

While most of the songs played were from his most recent release, he snuck in some old favourites like 'Limit to Your Love' and 'The Wilhelm Scream', which he explained was originally sung by his dad James Litherland. 

To me, something that makes a show so special and unforgettable is when an artist takes the time to talk to a crowd and do something you haven’t seen before. Thinking back to the last song he played for us as part of his encore, it still give goose bumps. 

After thanking the crowd and his band, we were left with soft lighting and just him with his synths and loop pedal. Playing a song he hasn’t played live in a long time, Blake asked for quiet while he looped his vocals adding more depth and dimensions before adding keys to the mix. I’ve always thought of him as the King of the Loop Pedal. 'Measurements' was the perfect ending to a perfect show. Knowing he had the crowd in the palm of his hand as the lights faded he walked off stage leaving us with just his voice looping over and over until it was just a single loop left, we didn’t realise the show was over until the lights came on. He mentioned it'd taken him a long time to get his shows to this standard. I cannot wait to see what he has in store for his next tour, because after this performance, I never want to miss his shows again.

Written by Kim-Louise Bedggood