‘Immersive and euphoric’ – James Blake at the Hordern Pavilion
If you’ve never been in a state of total and utter euphoria, then you most definitely haven’t been to one of JAMES BLAKE’s concerts.
The innovative genius is known for his intoxicating, electronic tracks and heavenly vocals. Although with music that good, there’s always an element of “I have to see it to believe it”. Thus, that is exactly what I did when he made his way down under to Hordern Pavilion, Sydney.
The concert began with a good hour set by experimental electronic musician, Mark Pritchard, the room still half empty as he walked up to his mark and started playing. Cinematic-electronica material flowed throughout, gradually grabbing larger crowds attention. Most concert goers still getting their drinks and footing on good viewing areas to stand for the concert, Mark set what was to be the vibe of the rest of the night. From slow, intricate layering of sounds saturated with reverb to upbeat rhythms and sampling.
Pritchard concludes his set to a room full of eager individuals, ready for the appearance of Mr. Blake. After a few moments of silence as the anticipation builds, James enters, giving a kind and very grateful mention to fellow artist Mark, commenting on privilege he feels to share the stage with a fellow idol. The set kicks off and a group of girls from the front already begin their relentless screams. Whilst the staging only consists of an electric guitarist, drummer, and James with his electric piano, straight away it’s obvious nothing more is needed.
Performing primarily from his latest album, ‘Radio Silence’ entered first and it was fucking intense. The whole room was swallowed by the dreamy flow of James’ vocals and airy synth melodic lines. Harmonies were pre-recorded on the night, which is understandable, although a little gutted that I noticed him singing over his own main vocal line sometimes, but other then that – no disappointment.
A few songs on and ‘Love Me In Whatever Way’ kicks in as we all sway aside one another. Killing absolutely every note, all I have to say about this one is for a song that would be difficult for anyone to sing, James sang it so effortlessly. Here is where I almost start to contemplate life but James brings me back into reality with that chorus. Once again, SO intense.
Unfortunately the night was coming to an end and ‘Always’ filled up the space of a mostly intoxicated and slightly pervaded audience. An almost magical world full of wonder and excitement comes to a quick end as James and his band mates finish up and wander off to the back.
Not to be fooled, after a few rounds of calling for a return, James does a classic “I finished….. Oh wait for it!” He ends off the night with his old classic, ‘The Wilhelm Scream’. Closing with the emotional track, dripping with sadness and angst – a perfect ending to a deliciously immersing concert.
Words by Natalie Palmer