Disclaimer: I really, really like Jamie xx so there is a chance that this review could be biased.
Jamie xx, real name Jamie Smith, is a producer and DJ from London and member of the indie group The xx. His solo career began in 2010 but it wasn’t until this year that he released his debut LP, In Colour. Jamie xx’s music spans multiple genres; first and foremost electronica but mixed in with elements of house, techno, post-dubstep and even hip-hop with his latest single I Know It’s Gonna Be (Good Times).
Jamie xx at The Albert Hall Manchester – 16th October 2015
I want to start by saying that The Albert Hall in Manchester is a fantastic venue, it’s a beautiful old building with a maze of staircases and rooms and a speculator view from the balcony. After enjoying the support act from the balcony, we positioned ourselves right at the front, like the fangirls me and my friends are!
Supported by a DJ named Tasker, Jamie xx sheepishly arrived on stage a little later that scheduled and took over the decks, kicking things off with the dreamy Sleep Sound. The gig started off slowly, playing snippets of other artists music to get the crowd going before dropping his 2014 hit All Under One Roof Raving, a sample-heavy ode to British club culture. It’s a song Jamie doesn’t play very often, as least not in full so it was a pleasure to hear.
As the night went on he played a number of his hits from his various EP’s and of course In Colour, as well as some of his best remixes such as NY Is Killing Me by Gil Scott-Heron and a favourite of mine, Bloom (Jamie xx Rework Part 3) by Radiohead.
His set took the crowd through a journey of highs and lows, from the quiet SeeSaw to the raucous, bass heavy Gosh.
There were two stand outs in my (biased) opinion; Far Nearer and Obvs. Both feature the beautiful, Caribbean sound of steel pan drums, Obvs has the ability to send shivers down your spine without it containing a single lyric. It’s a stand out track for me on In Colour.
Far Nearer is possibly my favourite song of all time. It combines the aforementioned steel pans with a distorted, pitch-shifted Janet Jackson sample creating a beautiful, euphoric sound which I love even more every time I hear it.
Some have criticised him for his lack of a real ‘live’ performance. But Jamie is a producer not a singer, live for him is using a mix of vinyls and CDJ’s and a mixing desk to create performance which reflects his personality; shy, understated but brilliant. Yes it would have been nice to see his bandmates Romy or Oliver Sim perform live or an energetic performance from Young Thug and Popcaan, but we can’t have everything.
For me the gig was an incredible showcase of Jamie’s talent, the coloured lighting complemented it perfectly and I personally could watch him over and over again.