REVIEW: James Blake – Roseland Theater // 10/14

Written by on October 20, 2016

Photo by Zoe Naimo

For Fans of: Frank Ocean, Jamie xx, How To Dress Well

On the eve of what was reported to be one of the biggest storms in Pacific Northwest history, James Blake has earned himself a queue of dutiful fans waiting in the torrential rain. As one of the musicians responsible for some of the biggest releases this year (Frank Ocean, Vince Staples), it’s not surprising that the producer can draw a crowd even in the worst of conditions. His sold out show at the Roseland Theater featured work spanning his whole career, including an Untold remix from 2009 and “Forward“, his collaboration with Beyoncé. The set heavily featured material from his incredible new album The Colour in Anything such as my personal favorite, “Choose Me”, and single with vocals from Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, “I Need A Forest Fire”. He was joined by opening act Moses Sumney for “Modern Soul” and the title track of the album which featured visuals by Quentin Blake, who designed the cover for The Colour in Anything. The backing vocals provided by Sumney were a chillingly wonderful way to bring the vocal layering from the recordings to life and it was sweet to see the friendship that they obviously share.

Blake closed the show with a solo encore of his incredible cover of Joni Mitchell’sA Case Of You” and “Measurements” from his debut album in 2011. This last song was incredibly powerful live as it consists of only Blake’s voice looped with a few background notes on the keyboard. The song live requires complete silence from the audience, as Blake pointed out that cheering and noise did not translate well into the layered vocals. It was a powerful thing to witness, made especially magical by the pounding rain of the impending storm that could be heard during the silence in the song. James Blake’s performance was by far one of the most powerful shows I’ve ever seen and I encourage everyone to check out some of his live material as it transcends even the strength of his recorded work.


James Blake Live on Late Night with Seth Meyers

Life Round Here/Come Thru (Live At BBC 6 Music Festival 2014)

Measurements (Live At Pitchfork Music Festival 2014)

Retrograde (Live on KEXP 2013)


Find James Blake on Facebook // Listen to James Blake on his Website


– Emma Hollar





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