Photos by G.
Midway through James Blake‘s first show in the United States at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Willamsburg on March 14, 2011, over thunderous applause, the British electronic singer told the packed to the rafters crowd that words fail to describe the feeling he was currently experiencing. Based on what I heard and the crowd reaction, I can say that perhaps the appropriate word was “love.” There was so much love in the room as music’s newest superstar more than won over the New York crowd. If you’ve never heard James Blake’s music before, imagine bits of Jeff Buckley and Thom Yorke (from Radiohead)’s voices mixed with the slow trippy beats of Massive Attack. The music and the lighting were extremely moody and as a result, Blake played most of the show with little or no spotlight, giving the crowd a chance to let the music wash over us. Knowing I was going to be seeing him live, I’ve resisted all temptation to listen to his music so that when he walked out onto his first stage in the USA, I could experience his music for the first time. So glad I did because I was blown away by what I heard.
Though James Blake’s self-titled album was just released in the UK in February, the crowd sang along to most every song. Highlights for me included “The Wilhelm Scream,” “Limit To Your Love,” and “I Learnt To Share,” where Blake sampled the first line of the song “My brother and my sister don’t speak to me, but I don’t blame them” live and then sang on top of it. As the song progressed, more trippy beats were introduced and the crowd went absolutely wild with each passing minute. It was a goose bump inducing moment. Also, for the encore, James Blake played a cover of Joni Mitchell’s “A Case Of You.” I have no doubt that James Blake is going to be a huge star and I am looking forward to seeing that! A video of “A Case of You” is coming soon, so stay tuned (it’s dark, but there’s nothing I can do about it).
See the set list after the jump.