Monday, May 16, 2011

James Blake @ The Bowery Ballroom (5.11.2011)

Britain's James Blake released his self-titled debut album this year and it was well received in the U.S. upon its emergence.  Resulting from this high acclaim, Blake extended his live shows and made his live American debut in March of 2011 at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn.  Tickets sold out incredibly fast and unfortunately, Evan and I got shut out of the show.  Tickets for the event were selling for over $100 each on Ebay and StubHub which was completely out of our budget.  Luckily enough, he announced another set of U.S. dates for the spring/early summer, two of which were to occur in New York.  We attended his performance on May 11th at the Bowery Ballroom.

 Evan and I decided to stand on the second level of the Bowery for at least the opener because we never watched a show from the location before.  We stood directly behind the soundboard and caught a glimpse of various James Blake set lists for the night that were guides for the sound lighting engineers.  To the right is a picture of the set list from the lighting guide. The only difference between this and the other set list was the exclusion of his James Blake's cover of "Anti-War Dub" and that his new song "Enough Thunder" (referred to by fans as "Heartbreak") wasn't spelled out.  

After sitting through Active Child's interesting opening set, we decided that the sound was too good from our location to abandon it for the overcrowded floor.  From the moment he began, James Blake's set was powerful; he chose a sweet mixture of his beautiful piano songs and his more dancey, bass filled jams.  His fun, yet humble personality was manifest in his conversations with the crowd about being in New York again and just performing live in general.  He even messed around a bit during "I Never Learnt To Share" when he recorded the crowd's yells and integrated them into the intro.  Songs like "Unluck," "The Wilhelm Scream," and the aforementioned "I Never Learnt To Share" featured more prominent breakdown sections (for lack of a better descriptor) that aren't as upfront on the album versions.

The result of the Bowery's impeccable sound, James Blake's fantastic set, and our location was, in my opinion, our best recording yet.  The only annoyance during the night came courtesy of the lovely bartender who insisted on rudely dumping glasses into the sink during the quiet parts of "Lindisfarne".  Otherwise, it was an incredible show and we hope you all enjoy the recording!

Download the live recording HERE (password= twosails)

Set List:
1. Unluck
2. Give Me My Month
3. Tep and the Logic
4. I Never Learnt To Share
5. Lindisfarne
6. To Care (Like You)
7. Klavierwerke
8. Limit To Your Love
9. The Wilhelm Scream
10. Encore
11. Anti-War Dub
12. Enough Thunder

The Wilhelm Scream:

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