11th November 2016

Charismatic, unconvential, energetic. Words often associated with Jack Garratt that nevertheless proved to be true at Newcastle’s O2 Academy on the 8th November, with a set that included ‘Breathe Life’ ‘Fire’, ‘Far Cry’ and ‘Worry’ - whose drop was irresistable. It was a spell-binding hour of real sound. Just music. There was nothing try-hard about his performance; nothing, really, that was that performative. I have rarely felt when looking upon the stage at an artist that the figure I am watching is actually, genuinely, the person behind the label. I felt it at Ed Sheehan, and I felt it at Jack Garratt. I need only mention as proof the break in his set when Jack’s, if I may, slightly dorky sense of humour shone through with his covers of ’The Prince of Bel Air’ and Craig David’s ‘7 Days’, which were very originally converted into Jack’s sound. But maybe also it is because on stage it is just him. It is just Jack and the tools he needs to produce his unique timbre, created through the perfect mix of multiple layers, many of which I think Jack recorded on his loop so subtly we barely even noticed. There was something deeply personal about watching a man, surrounded by a ring of bright white lights, create songs so full of inspiration and care; and it was deeply touching to see this man, already a highly acclaimed artist and winner of multiple prestigious music awards, BRIT Awards Critics’ Choice 2015 and BBC Sound of 2016 to name but a couple, moved by the positive reception the Newcastle audience gave him; thrilled that so many of us raised our hands when he asked if we had listened to his album ‘Phase’. 

While I do wish to give a predominantly positive review of his show, because no-one there could deny his talent, I would like to make one criticism, which I am finding hard to pin down to one factor. But, having seen him live, I must say I am mildly disappointed. In no way was his show anything but amazing, but Jack’s stereo sound is so original and enthralling, I couldn’t help but think somehow an aspect of this got lost. Simply put, I thought the crowd was going to be more psyched, that there was going to be slightly more atmosphere. But then again, maybe I had set my expectations far too high; which, from his stereo music, is not hard to do. 



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