James Blake Live @ The Tractor Tavern
May 19, 2011
By Charlie Larson
I felt kind of strange seeing one of the UKs most popular dubstep artists at the Tractor Tavern, which usually caters to alternative/country artists, but nonetheless James Blake left a sold out venue wanting more.
Blake’s most recognizable aspect is his vocals, which are effected by autotune and reverb. I was curious how his material was going to be performed live – I really didn’t want to see him standing in front of a turntable – so I was happy to see an electronic drum set, sampler, guitar, and keyboards.
All his songs blend aspects of soul, R&B, and dubstep. At times his music felt so minimal that you could hear a drink order from the bar. But, take that quiet dead air as a praise to James Blake’s ability to completely captured his audience with an almost perfect blend of melody and rhythm.
The highlight of the night was “I Never Learnt To Share,” which starts with the lyrics “My brother and my sister don’t speak to me, but I don’t blame them.” Blake slowly loops his vocal line to what becomes a beautiful three part harmony that was nothing short of pure soul bliss. Electronic beats kept his keyboard driven songs wound and pushing while adding a musical sex appeal that was impossible not to move to.
An encore was definitely had and delivered, but the even bigger encore was hearing that James Blake is going to return to Seattle on September 24 at the Showbox Market. It’s no surprise to me after seeing him at the Tractor that he’s gaining popularity in America, so be sure and get some electronic soul this fall. – (10/10)
Get your tickets now for Blake’s Showbox show.