All I knew of James Blake before tonight was his hit Limit to Your Love. And that Elektra has a considerable crush on him. So like the loyal wing woman, I joined her at Terminal 5 to see him perform and for a shimmy or two.
I’d never been to an electronic show before, and I’d assumed it’d consist of lots of drilling and noises that sounded like Laser Quest guns. But as it turned out, it was beautiful. Blake uses gentle pianos, synths, guitars, drums and effortless vocals, often to create live samples which he then harmonises with. Early on in the show, I particularly enjoyed I Never Learnt to Share.
But halfway through, it began to lag. Blake’s music and voice are beautiful, but there didn’t always seem to be a great deal of texture. He was at his best when there were layers of staccato guitars, intricate drum beats and a rattling bass. But after three or four similarly slow, ethereal vocal tracks, I was craving a bit of dubstep to give it some oomph.
And as all the shows I’ve been to before are rock/folk/pop, I’m used to seeing musicians stand up and perform, so I felt like this was the sort of music I’d prefer just to listen to in my room.
Thankfully, the tempo began to pick up again and I particularly enjoyed one much dancier track from his new project, 1 800 Dinosaur. Whatever Blake lacked in variety, he won back with his incredible voice. I was also really enamoured with his modesty, which seemed so genuine. ‘I just want to take this all in,’ he said as he looked out at the massive crowd.
This was a fun night out, and I can see why Elektra is so taken with Blake. And while I will definitely be listening to more of his stuff, I think that when it comes to his shows, there might just be a mini Limit to my Love.