BEACH HOUSE. O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire. 30th October 2015.

2 11 2015

Beach House are one of those bands that can reduce anyone to floods of tears, regardless of how tough they are. They’re the kind of band you play when you feel out of sorts. I’ve managed to no longer associate them with personal situations as no good can ever come from it, if I did that I probably would never listen to them again. Aside from the chorus to Walk In The Park, I’ve learnt to let go of any personal connection. However they still can make me cry just because I bloody love them.

As I watched them on Friday I came to the realisation that when I die, I reckon my journey to wherever I’m headed will have Beach House playing. Their songs can curb hints of anxiety (as I refuse to go to the doctor about the panic attacks I have, I use music and it helps especially Beach House) and their songs can feel like a massive hug. There is something so special about Victoria’s voice. I remember when they first came out, and some were adamant that they singer was a guy. I guess they weren’t listening properly.

Their live shows for me isn’t just about the music. The visuals hook you in immediately. You make out the shadows of the band, and the darkness and stillness of it all really makes the show spectacular. Each song played is greeted with this loving glow, and it is so obvious just how treasured the band are. Beach House allowed fans to choose the songs played on the tour via their website. I religiously did this as soon as they announced this until late on Friday. I knew the songs I wanted, I kept one as a solid and the others I switched. Most of them were played, and regarding the new songs, I was all about hearing PPP. They played it and I felt like my heart had burst out of my chest and I was being transported elsewhere. I saw them 2 years ago in exactly the same venue, and I don’t think anywhere else would be suited for them.

Walk In The Park was played and I was fully expecting to sob like a child. Fortunately I kept it to a minimum. Probably because I was getting annoyed at the drunk idiots around us who felt the need to talk through it all. Just because it was a Friday and you’ve had a bit of wine doesn’t mean you have to be a massive twat does it? Actually for them, it probably does!

On record Beach House have this soothing quality, and of course they have that during their live shows. However the drums really heighten the importance of the sound. Where Alex and Victoria are delicate, the drums allow them to let go slightly and expose each song in a different way. Although I love rowdy bands such as Dead Boys and Fugazi, bands like Beach House are there to balance it all out. Different parts of us want different things.

Opening with Levitation felt so right, I doubt any other song should have been the opener. It was like an introduction for the journey they were about to take us all on. Five albums into their career and I think it is fair to state that they really are one of the best bands around, although I was probably declaring that when their debut came out. Their music feels like a walk on the beach late at night, on your own. I find them to be a band that I listen to with no one around. I guess it’s because they are so peaceful and for me being around loads of people is anything but peaceful (although I’m fine at gigs!)

Back to what I said at the start where I felt like the band would probably be playing at the end of this life. Beach House are a band that you can face all your fuck ups to and start over. Of course the second you start seeking approval from others you forget who you are, but sometimes you need to see what you’ve done and do what is necessary. Victoria’s words are like a hug for the soul and Alex’s guitar makes you feel as if you’re floating above the clouds- up and away from all you’ve ever known. Their music is a safety net, a form of protection. For them to convey this in their live shows takes guts, and as delicate as their sound is they do it so perfectly well.

I feel this “review” is pretty wanky because I’ve not really talked about the show, but it is one of those things that you need to experience for yourself in order to get what I’m on about. There is just something to special and heavenly about their sound and shows, and I know it is so boring and an utterly clichéd thing to say but it’s the truth. Everything they make you feel on record is grander when you witness it live. Their presence is subtle but powerful. Although they are quite reserved, they allow themselves to get lost in the music in their own way and I think some of the fans react in the same way. I could quite happily go to a Beach House show every night. The words and music just hit you in gut, and once they’ve got to you that’s it. Nothing else really matters. I felt like it was just me and them when I was watching them. My surroundings didn’t matter to me and more than usual I was oblivious to all around me (apart from the drunk idiots.)

I still stand by wanting Victoria to sing me to sleep every night, but until then I’ll cling onto the memories of Friday night. I appreciate the new records even more after hearing them live, and with all their songs I saw them all in a different light after hearing them live. Music means more to you when you see a band you love play the songs you love right before you. You can’t put a price on that experience at all.





JESSIE WARE-Brixton Academy. 29th January 2015.

1 02 2015

 

 

Writing about Jessie Ware is impossible at times because her live shows are at times, beyond words. I’ll treat this as less of a review and more of an appreciation of a career of this country’s finest singer.

Before I get into my take on the live show, just watch one of the first clips of Jessie to emerge:

A dream of her’s was to always play Brixton Academy, and for two nights she did it. Her voice is one that is constantly brilliant. There’s no way she could put on a bad show, ever. It would be impossible. There aren’t many that are consistently good. But I like to think the bands that I love and go see always are. That’s why I go see them, of course.

Just before Jessie stepped onto the stage, the PA blasted out More Than A Woman by Aaliyah. Being the sentimental fool that I am, I couldn’t help but feel she should be playing here too. Anywhere. It’s a loss you never really get over, you know. It’s never felt right, and it never will.

Jessie steps onto the stage as the intro to Running starts. He voice and presence causes an immediate frenzy. One person, just one person oozes infectious stage presence that some bands can’t muster. Her on stage talk is all over the place and full of swear words. This is why I love her. You can tell just by that massive smile on her face that playing Brixton means more to her than anyone else, it means more to her than any other venue would. It was a truly special show that was a long time coming.

After she performs 110%, the crowd went ballistic. I’ve never been at a show where this reaction happens, ever. Every song is performed in a way that makes you wish you had even an ounce of her talent. She’s undeniably the best singer around. She captures that 80s classy R&B sound that Sade gave us and mixed with something different, much like Aaliyah did. Her lyrics are vulnerable and honest. The way she brings them to life on stage is on a different level, almost like you can’t believe a voice like this exists.

For me, the most important moment of the set is her bringing back the gorgeous Taking In Water to her set. This song is definitely one of the highlights from her 2012 debut, Devotion. The song was written for her baby brother Alex, and when she performs this song you really do feel as if you are intruding on a personal moment between them. The song is so delicate and beautifully written, to see it again live is for me the best part of the show.

The set is the perfect mix of both records and with a couple of bonus tracks such as Valentine (she brings out her former drummer and current support Dornik to sing with her) and The Way We Are. You know what else would be an ideal Jessie show? If she did b-sides and tracks off the deluxe editions.

When you see a band/singer you love live, a part of you should always come away either wanting to be in that moment forever or wishing you could do it. Sometimes both. Maybe always both.

These two shows at Brixton just show how rare a talent like Jessie’s is, and how needed a voice like hers is. Everything about her music is approachable and so easy to relate to. From when she hits THAT note during Running and THAT certain part during Say You Love Me, plus much more, it is all evident as to why she has finally sold out Brixton. TWICE. She gives it her all, and so do her band. Her bassist (who I believe is a fellow Italian!) is a delight to watch, he really gets into it. As I was leaving the venue, I heard two people behind me slag the guy off by saying “The way he moves just makes him look like he’s full of himself, and he really has no need to be.” 1- He’s not. He moves like that because he evidently is having the time of his life up there and is blood good. And 2- Are you selling out two nights at Brixton? No love, you’re not. So you know, be quiet. Another group decided that Jessie shouldn’t have played The Way We Are. But there are idiots everywhere, even at shows.

Jessie’s got the voice of an angel and the mouth of a sailor. I don’t get how anyone could ignore such a talent and turn onto something else. She’s got soul in her words, music and voice. It doesn’t happen too often, remember that.





JESSIE WARE. Roundhouse. 18th September 2014.

19 09 2014

 

 

Exactly a year ago I won tickets to see Jessie Ware at Abbey Road Studios, a year later I win tickets to the iTunes Festival. This meant selling my Fat White Family ticket, but it was fine- it went to a good home.

Anyone who has seen Jessie Ware live (and I don’t mean via the internet) will know she has this indescribable presence that just makes you want to keep seeing her perform live. I don’t know what it is, but as soon as she starts singing even if the songs are heart-breaking, you just feel alright. She has this effortlessly gorgeous voice that doesn’t hit the music industry very often. I know I’ve said it many times but she’s got the soul/passion that I’ve only heard in Sade and Aaliyah’s voice. All three of them have this soft, gentle and reassuring quality to their voice and music. It is a pleasure to listen to.

She opened her set with Running which everyone pretty much went nuts to. But the new songs are really something else. Sure everyone loves Wildest Moments but can we PLEASE just declare Want Your Feeling as the best thing to happen all year? If you don’t dance, even just a little bit to it, then you should see a doctor about your joints. They’re not moving right, go sort yourself out. Her new songs sound beyond brilliant live, so I think we have all reached a mutual understanding that Tough Love is probably going to be one of the best records out this year. We’re all okay with this aren’t we? Good. Every year I find at least one song that I could quite happily play on repeat, all day every day and Want Your Feeling is that song for me this year. I love every little thing about it. The lyrics may be a little sad, but the song just makes me massively happy. My moves to Groove Is In The Heart (my girlfriend will say they are embarrassing, and they probably are) are pretty much similar to what Want Your Feeling makes my limbs do.

Her songs just make you want to turn to the person you love/adore, and to just tell them that. Her songs, even when heart-breaking just ooze a wealth of love that isn’t conveyed enough. Or maybe it is, and Jessie is the only one doing it in a real way. A way that is relatable. However, my attention was lured away from Jessie a few times when I saw a man doing incredible dance moves up in the seating area. His moves were seriously influential and they’ll be taking over dancefloors soon. Hopefully. He was having a ball, and his moves really showed that. Anyone who saw them enjoyed the little hand gestures he was unleashing. I’ll probably be using them.

I read a few reviews of last nights show, and some were bashing the fact that her set consisted of new songs. Her album is out in a few weeks; surely it makes sense for her to use a platform as massive as this festival to play them? Some people are never satisfied, so we ignore them. Her new songs sound gorgeous live, and it is fairly obvious that Tough Love is going to sit nicely next to Devotion as being a fine piece of work. When she performs live, she is someone who really puts their all into it without being forced. You can see just how happy she is to play these new songs, especially Kind Of…Sometimes…Maybe which pretty much makes you want Jessie and Miguel to work with each other all the time. For me, I really loved Cruel and Pieces. You And I (Forever) is brilliant also, basically it is all excellent and you’re daft if you don’t buy her new record.

Last year when I saw her, she had just got engaged to Sam and now when she talks about her husband this captivating glow just takes over her, and you really feel a sense of pure and unconditional love. That’s how it should be. The fact that she is happy but can write painful and heart-breaking love song really shows how brilliant she is. And I do think one thing about Jessie is that she really doesn’t know how good she is. She’s better than good obviously. This humble soul is a credit to the music industry, and I do stand by the fact that she’s my generation’s Sade. She’s a genuine soul whose voice just takes you somewhere else. I wish I had the words to describe just how wonderful she is, but those that love her know.

She’s not released her second record yet, but last night proved that Jessie Ware is easily the best vocalist around. No one else comes close.