It’s no secret that the Hordern Pavilion has hosted many great concerts throughout Australia’s rich musical history. With acts ranging from Wu-tang Clan to the Arctic Monkeys, all of the greats have had their moments at the Hordern. James Blake was no exception to this rule, as the humble and extraordinarily talented musician created a truly cathartic experience.
With the soulful and articulate sounds emerging from James Blake’s three-piece ensemble, his songs came to life in a way that was entirely unprecedented. The rich tones delivered throughout the night were epic, varied and brilliant. With the sounds of legendary Mark Pritchard setting the mood for the evening, we all knew we were in for a good night. The pieces delivered by Pritchard were distinctly his, and while watching this artist work it is clear to see that this was an artist following his own agenda, Pritchard was an artist who was in his element.
However, it wasn’t until James Blake’s set that the crowd really came alive. Choosing to open with ‘Part Time Life’, Blake showcased both his abilities alongside those of his incredible backing musicians. The setting of the stage was absolutely impeccable, with the use of nothing more than lights and smoke machines; Blake’s set carried an incredible atmosphere. With stunning silhouettes to compliment the serene sounds of Blake’s timeless vocals, the night wasn’t one anybody would forget anytime soon.
Though one of my favourite aspects of this concert was, oddly enough, not the music played but the persona of James Blake. With utmost humility and appreciation, he truly displayed a genuine love for not only his music, but also those who got to share in his music. Though the music was fantastic, it was the humility displayed that converted this young reviewer into a fan.
One of the standout tracks for the night was the instant classic ‘Lindesfarne.’ When hearing this song performed live, it instantly established a dreamy calm that left a crowd pleasantly swaying in unison. With excellent musicianship being displayed by the accompaniment within this songs performance, this song was one of the greatest features of Blake’s set.
Alongside the fan favourite track ‘Limit To Your Love’, another brilliant feature from the set was the soothing track ‘Love Me In Whatever Way’. With his singing style being reminiscent of Jeff Buckley’s sound in this song, ‘Love Me In Whatever Way’ was a featured track that resonated amongst the crowd and moved people in an awesome way. One of the great things about this concert was the fact that James Blake presented a great amount of variety within his set. With Up-tempo tracks such as ‘I Hope My Life (1800- Mix)’, James Blake kept listeners focused on the sonic beauty presented to us that night.
With Blake re-appearing back to the stage after a roaring encore, he adorned us all with the epic and intense track known as ‘The Wilhelm Scream’. By introducing the audience into some backstory to the song before performing it, Blake made the songs appearance that more special. The performance of the song was beautiful and devastatingly somber and though it was a brilliant piece, I’m not sure if it’s the song I would have chosen to close such a tight set.
When reflecting back on the night that James Blake graced the stage, it became all the clearer that true artistry is still out there and is more diverse than ever before. With a perfect match between the musicality, personality and visuals, this was a great set.
This was a night that not only surprised this young rock lover but also converted her.