Yesterday I hit the road with James – destination The Metro Theatre, Sydney – in order to attend the James Blake gig. Turned out to be a well coordinated and well timed trip, transport and accommodation coming together without a hitch even though we did have to navigate the most horrendous car-park on earth. Now that I think about it I should have taken some pictures (actually I’ve got no pictures from the trip at all) since it appeared that the owners of the hotel had realised, at some stage, that parking was necessary for their visitors and just drilled down into the ground with little consideration as to how big cars actually are. The silver lining was that we got to park right in front of the elevator doors. I mean literally in front of them. Handy!
The hotel being a few minutes from the venue was a huge plus and allowed us to get there with ample time to spare. Blake’s support had some chop but maybe expected a bit too much from the crowd. The fact that you hang out with Kanye West occasionally doesn’t change the fact that you’re the support act and the crowd is going to talk if it wants to. Notice how the full house was absolutely silent for the quiet moments in Lindesfarne? Didn’t hear James Blake needing to ask us to be quiet. The performance was high quality, though, and he was an entirely appropriate lead in.
We’d set up shop just above the audio engineers as is good to do, sometimes. The whole setup was fairly minimalist which wasn’t surprising; all of the magic happens on stage. And when the bass hit at the end of I Never Learned To Share it ripped through the place like nothing else. In an amusing moment we saw all the engineers look up to the roof at the same time, it was shaking that much. Fortunately they didn’t turn it down and the roof didn’t fall down. The set included a good selection from his self titled album and EPs, Lindesfarne coming together just as I hoped to hear (see reference to silent moments above) and the guys managed to space out the satisfying hooks with some tasteful almost drum n bass style. It happened to be the last show on his solo tour which, I guess, ensured an emotional performance from the lot of them. The crowd was fine, packed to capacity (it looked like, anyway) and everyone left satisfied.
I’ve said before this was a lucky catch and I’m glad we made it. I think it’s unlikely we’ll be able to see him again at the same place for the same price. It’ll be great to see what comes next. Frez mentioned he’s hearing Blake inspired sounds filtering through Triple J over the past few months. That’ll probably continue for a while. Refreshing!