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It wasn’t really until this past trip to Britain that I started actually feeling quite proud of being from Washington DC. When I was in Glasgow, a friend of Frightened Rabbit‘s who had come over for a recent tour of the States said how lovely the venue and staff at the 9:30 Club were and how he wished he could visit again soon. When I insisted to the Crookes that one day they would play there, they were ever so self-deprecating, referring to the club’s hardcore punk history as the starting point for Fugazi and other local bands of that scene: “we’re not punk enough for the 9:30 Club!” A fan can dream, can’t she?
Time and time again, I heard stories of how well bands and their people had been treated at our flagship club venue and of course, everyone seems to talk about the 9:30 Club cupcakes like they were manna from heaven. When I explained to them that the bakery that makes them is not far from where Cheryl lives, one of the members of Kodaline exclaimed, “does she go there everyday? I would if I could!” Haha. So I think I’ve now been tasked to order and deliver a box of these babies to every friends’ band that comes into town, just in case the band in question isn’t actually playing at the 9:30 (Oh Cheryl…?)
The closest thing we have to the BBC in America is NPR, and is often the case, NPR will record shows at the 9:30 Club live from the sound desk and also run an accompanying live chat on their Web site. We’ve just received word in town that the video of James Blake‘s sold out show at 9:30 is now streaming online on NPR, and you can watch it in its entirety below. Generally speaking, when NPR does record live shows, it’s usually only audio, so you know that if they videotaped this, this was something pretty special. As should be expected, the set is chock full of tunes from his latest album ‘Overgrown’ released last month, but he couldn’t not do some favourites from his debut in 2010. Enjoy.
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 11th April 2013 at 6:00 pm
James Blake just released his latest album ‘Overgrown’ this week on Polydor. We’ve got two videos for you. The first is the animated video for album track ‘Voyeur’, which is unusually being released on Blake’s own 1-800-DINOSAUR label. (If you were wondering, it’s the name of Blake’s own club night at London’s Plastic People club.) The second is for the title track ‘Overgrown’, in which he looks like he’s pulling a Jamie Woon and not as well. Watch them both below.
By Mary Chang
on Sunday, 17th February 2013 at 10:00 am
The man that I think we quite rightly can blame on the current dubstep revolution James Blake has a new video clip out for new song ‘Retrograde’. It’s like he predicted the Siberian meteorite fallout earlier in the week. Watch it below.
Blake’s new album ‘Overgrown’ drops on the 8th of April.
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 22nd December 2011 at 6:00 pm
James Blake has been super busy in the studio this year. Not willing to rest on his BBC Sound of 2011 runner-up laurels, he released not only his self-titled debut but an EP called ‘Enough Thunder’. Here is the video for ‘A Case of You’ and yes, if you’re wondering, it’s a cover of a Joni Mitchell song.
For a night that was supposed to be dedicated to dance, it’s surprising how little dancing occurred. James Blake’s Saturday night appearance at Manchester’s Warehouse Project (being curated by Belgian dance label R&S) started early at 9 and ended up finishing at the wee hours of 5 in the morning, with a total of 12 acts performing altogether. Amazing! However, for the purpose of this review, I’m going to focus on the main man of the moment, Mr. Blake. I will admit here that I am not in anyway a fan of James Blake, but I will try and avoid any kind of bias. Honest!
Blake’s keyboard driven beats are hardly what you expect from a night like this; however, the tinkling and wavering of the keyboards is enough to have at least a few dance purists moving. By the time Blake arrived for the live set, the venue (under the Piccadilly railway station car park) was packed, sweaty and every shade of uncomfortable you can imagine. The bass during opener ‘Unluck’ was bordering on unbearable: while the pulsating beats had my heart pumping, it was a complete sensory overload from the start. Uncomfortable for me, yes, however in amongst the sensory bombardment was Blake’s wavering vocals, bringing order to the proceedings.
‘I Never Learnt to Share’ is an intense catastrophe of sound, with the introduction suitably dulcet, moving into an intense collision of keyboards. The post-dubstep sound he is looking for is released in the end with the crowd erupting in a sweaty, keyboard-induced mob.
This performance though was epitomized by the subtlety of this young producer’s music. It managed to fill a room while still remaining g as minimalistic as it is on a record, like the xx for the dubstep generation. The venue’s brick arched setting helped with this, keeping the sound enclosed where it could reverberate into the electronic beast it is meant to be in a live setting.
As I mentioned earlier, in this crowded setting the ability to dance was at a premium, which is bizarre for a dance-driven club night. But I don’t think anybody left the building unimpressed. Blake knew exactly which buttons to push to keep the audience ticking and on his side throughout. For a guy who is only really in his infancy in a live setting, he looks anything but an amateur.
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 8th September 2011 at 5:30 pm
In case you missed them, we wrote previously on this year’s Mercury Prize shortlist and our writers weighed on who they thought should win and who should have received a nod from this year’s nomination committee.
Just prior to the shortlist being announced, it was strong, talented representatives of “the fairer sex” who topped the bookies’ top bets: Adele and PJ Harvey were neck and neck as the odds on favourite. These two lovely ladies continued to be strong favourites throughout the weeks leading up to the event in London hosted by Jools Holland this past Tuesday night. On the evening, Adele did not join her nominee compadres on the red carpet, nor did she perform on the Grosvenor Hotel stage due to illness. Ms. Adkins did, however, made everyone laugh with her humourous fake acceptance speech. Speaking of the faux acceptance speeches, after a rousing performance of ‘The Bay’, Joseph Mount of Metronomy said with a grin, “this is nice that the first album that you hear from us is about the place where I’m from. And I hope you visit Devon!” Bless. (To be fair, it’s nice that Devon will now be known for something other than their cows and Muse.)
6music reported that Guy Garvey of Elbow (the 2008 Mercury winner for ‘The Seldom Seen Kid’) was self-deprecating as usual, saying he wished their “little friends” Everything Everything would prove to be the winner. Speaking of the double-named band, they took the bold step of performing a non-single, album track from ‘Man Alive’, ‘Tin (the Manhole)’, when it was their turn to wow the dinner audience at the Grosvenor. But ultimately, it was PJ Harvey who came out on top, with her album ‘Let England Shake’ winning the top honours. With this win, she becomes the first act ever to win the Mercury Prize twice (she won exactly 10 years ago, in 2011 for her ‘Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea’). You can watch her live performance of ‘The Words That Maketh Murder’ from Tuesday night below. Congratulations Polly Jean!