By Maria Perez
Radio City Music Hall, known for it's lavish decor, class and long list of renowned performers was flooded by 6,000 hipsters last night, selling out the venue for James Blake.
When this show was first announced months back, I found it slightly strange that he went from having a show at Webster Hall in May straight to Radio City by October but then I remembered... Brooklyn.
By 9pm the place was packed, wreaked of cigarettes, weed and anticipation. [**Full disclosure, I skipped the first two acts, Vince Staples and Moses Sumney, I decided nachos and the first (embarassing) quarter of the Giants game seemed more appealing.]
The lights dimmed at 9:30pm and that was the moment James Blake introduced us to the 4th member of his band, his background visuals. The first thing we experienced wasn't that first note, but his visuals; simple, 3D and mesmerizing. Without a sound, a tone was set for the rest of the performance and it was clear we were going to be taken to another place.
Each song was performed fully live and for those who know his music, understand how absolutely impressive that is. Although the artist is James Blake, his music is a full band collaboration, together creating multi-layered loops with an array of instruments, indescribable drum sounds and of course a voice most singers would kill for.
"Loops?" Cool?, JB isn't just some dude turning nobs. Sure, his music alters the pure sound of instruments using sequencers giving it the label of Hipster Music, but through his piano and even lyrics, you hear his influences. Gospel, Soul, Jazz and even Poetry are the core of all of his songs, regardless if they sound electronic. Personally, I think being able to bring these influential genres back into play, is not only artistic but smart, creating his own path to success.
He covered just about his entire new album including my favorite, I Need A Forest Fire. Secretly, I hoped Bon Iver would show up for that song, he didn't ... a girl can hope, right?
JB took us on a full journey, one second making us dance the next giving us chills from his unbelievable voice. Needless to say, James Blake didn't sell out Radio City because of Brooklyn's gentrification, it sold out because he too, is a part of the long list of great performers.