Posted in music on March 15, 2011

words by Andrew Sacher, photo by Michael Barron

"James Blake was impeccable live. Wow." - Tyler McCauley

"James Blake concert was beyond words. He's doing something uniquely powerful. Confirmed for me that he is the artist of 2011." - Jakob Dorof

"whoaa that is bjork up in this james blake concert. would take a picture but it wouldnt matter. bitch is wearing a lace veil!" - Andrew

JAmes Blake

"Oh, hi," said a timid James Blake as he sat down behind his keyboard to make his US debut for a very approving crowd at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Blake, accompanied by a guitarist and drummer, quickly captured the audience with his distinct brand of electronica that wavers between delicate arrangements and venue-shaking bass drops. The set largely consisted of material off of his debut full length, including fan-favorites "The Wilhelm Scream," "I Never Learnt To Share," and his compelling cover of Feist's "Limit To Your Love." The most impressive part of the night, however, was the audience's reaction to the album's two-part epic; "Lindisfarne." The song's silent passages commanded the entire venue to follow suit, literally making it possible to hear a pin drop between Blake's sparse melody lines. After James Blake and his band left the stage, Blake came back on by himself for a much deserved encore, and performed his piano/vocal rendition of Joni Mitchell's "A Case Of You."

This is not the last America will be seeing of James. He's appearing at SXSW this week before returning to Europe for a number of dates in late March and April, and will be back in May for a proper US tour including sold out shows at Bowery Ballroom and Le Poisson Rouge.

The show was opened by the trippy, trancey duo Ford & Lopatin, who were joined on stage by Prefuse 73. Ford & Lopatin will also be at SXSW.

A video of the encore is below...

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Comments (115)

Jamie lidell could sneeze with reverb and create better music than this

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 3:24 AM

Antony, Bjork and Dirty Projectors were all there
together. Are they initiating James Blake into their
brand of quirky singing club?

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 3:36 AM

I like Jamie Lidell, but this kid is so much more talented. His music is surely not for everyone, but haters, who were not even at this show, in this case definitely don't know what they are talking about. The concert was above and beyond all expectations. The audience response was very positive and they were as attentive as the crowd at the Jeff Tweedy Bowery show. The sound at Music Hall was also exceptional, which is crucial to this music. If you want to see him, try to see him soon, because his music will sound nowhere near as good once he starts playing the dreadful Terminal 5.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 3:51 AM

^ good music should be able to translate to any venue.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 4:02 AM

^HAHA, idiot. Anon 4:02 is probably the same guy who sits in the 400 levels at MSG and the next day comments on here about how the show rocked and the band SOUNDED amazing. Typical non discerning fool.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 4:13 AM

^HAHA, idiot. Anon 4:02 is probably the same guy who sits in the 400 levels at MSG and the next day comments on here about how the show rocked and the band SOUNDED amazing. Typical non discerning fool.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 4:17 AM

^ all of which means SO much coming from someone who likes trite nonsense like James Blake :)

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 4:28 AM

Coldplay of 2011

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 5:19 AM

Personally I find James Blake to have an interesting sound. I believe he may be spearheading a new genre that pitchfork has dubbed, "Hummus-Step"

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 5:30 AM

You people sure as hell needed some black flag/minor threat growing up.

I feel sorry for you if this is your thing

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 6:14 AM

"Blake, accompanied by a guitarist and drummer, quickly captured the audience with his distinct brand of electronica..."

And that's where you lost me.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 6:30 AM

I criticize others critically acclaimed taste in music because my daddy didn't love me enough.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 6:51 AM

Critically acclaimed? Dude sounds like the white Peabo Bryson.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 7:06 AM

Hahahaha, Peabo Byrson. Comment of the day

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 7:12 AM

7:06 - spot on! I just you YouTubed for comparison.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 7:27 AM

James Blake is the next

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUKBuAkr4Lg

kudos to him...

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 8:09 AM

Enjoy....

1st song "Unluck"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V39r97LLFN8

"Limit to Your Love".....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FXr9F5utNE

Posted by Kidatiki | March 15, 2011 8:14 AM

music for lemmings.. lets check in with you folks in a year and see if you'll still be listening to this pap. no doubt he'll be huge but he'll turn over his fan base 4 times in the next 12 months

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 8:26 AM

@6:14- agreed.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 8:35 AM

Was anyone else falling asleep during the opening act? If I wanted to see a bunch of dorks tool around on their Macbooks, I would just go into the nearest Starbucks.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 8:44 AM

I'd like to visit such concert. )

Posted by academic writing | March 15, 2011 8:44 AM

Always funny how people on here here like to pretend they know about venue sound.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 8:58 AM

i like the james blake, but does anyone remember a band called NO KIDS? they did something very similar to this back a couple of years ago.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 8:59 AM

did they serve brunch?

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 9:01 AM

8:58 - spot on!

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 9:04 AM

Well I'm an audio technician so I know great venue sound and this would sound great in an elevator.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 9:05 AM

I've tried listening, but he's not for me. Seems like his US career is off to a good start.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 9:14 AM

uhm that was just great.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 9:15 AM

What's that sound?

Oh, sounds like sheep bleating.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 9:21 AM

Man, I used to LOVE Black Flag back in the day. I miss that fun stuff (e.g. Suicidal Tendencies, Big Black, GG Allin, etc.)

And yet somehow I found myself at the James Blake show last night. Haters can hate all they want, but everyone in attendance at last night's show knows that they were present for something very special. Wasn't the drummer impressive in his own right? Also, you could feel the bass reverberate throughout the venue. I had an excellent time.

Posted by Dan | March 15, 2011 9:25 AM

This guy, with a macbook:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oofSnsGkops

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 9:32 AM

^ This is accurate. Lite FM Here we come!

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 9:45 AM

If James Blake is "Lite-FM" music than, basically, so are the likes of Grizzly Bear, Band of Horses, Sufjan Stevens, etc.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 9:55 AM

most of the people on this message board are cretinous fools. anyone that was at the show last night knows firsthand how amazing his set was-- not only the particularity of his sounds and piano and singing skills, but his production style is truly remarkable, esp. for such a young dude.

peace bitches.

Posted by eager tourist | March 15, 2011 9:56 AM

Such an amzing concert. Few acts sound better live than on CD, he was simply amazing.

Stood right by Bjork the whole show as well.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 10:00 AM

STOP chasing the 'next big thing' and START appreciating good music!

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 10:01 AM

Jacuzzi Boys in Straight Sets!

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 10:08 AM

Hate to break it to you 9:55, but Grizzly Bear kinda is Lite-FM material, Band of Horses almost is and Sufjan is about half the time.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 10:10 AM

listen if you werent there you cant really talk about it. the audience reaction was HUGE. i went based on curiosity and thought he absolutely justified all the hype surrounding him. best show in quite some time. sounded like a beast.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 10:14 AM

ANON 10:00am "Few acts sound better live than on CD" Wow, was speechless for a while after that gem. KYS, that may go up as one of the shi*tiest uniformed comments in the history of BV-and thats saying a lot. Congratulations u a$$ hat

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 10:14 AM

10:10, I'm 9:55 and I agree with you 100%. Grizzly Bear is some of the most prissy music I've ever heard.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 10:18 AM

gonna leave another comment saying how this show sucked even tho i wasn't there lol. listening to more metal now, bye.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 10:18 AM

"Few acts sound better live than on CD"

Huh? Many artists sound better live than on CD. TONS.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 10:19 AM

amazing show. haters stay pressed.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 10:20 AM

How were Pussy Legend Enchiladas?

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 10:22 AM

I think we can all agree that James Blake really needs to record an EP of GG Allin covers.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 10:32 AM

haters gonna hate, this was wonderful. gonna be hard to top.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 10:36 AM

Seriously, you all should be embarrassed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_2TZRFHO2k&feature=related

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 10:36 AM

I totally agree with you 10:14 but I have to say the comment wasn't JUST uniformed, but unimformed as well.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 10:39 AM

harvey milk played again last night. that's all i have to say.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 10:43 AM

10:36 - i would be embarrassed listening to that. chicks must dig it?

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 10:46 AM

im 10:14 and totally agreee with myself but if 10:39 is going to try and be a self righteous ahole and proof read the comments section. You may as well post a proper correction
"unimformed" isnt a word deucebag. I forgot the "n." Eat a d*ck brah

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 11:04 AM

This crowd sucked. Some girls behind us just would not shut up during his songs. One actually shouted out "he's not doing a good job right now," which he could have easily heard from where he was sitting. Show some respect for a young artist who is making his US debut. People just have no class these days.

Posted by Debbi | March 15, 2011 11:08 AM

11:08, everywhere else the crowd was great. he pretty much got a hero's reception. no joke.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 11:15 AM

I agree 11:15, except I ripped a wet fart during "Limit To Your Love". Other than that, everything was good.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 11:19 AM

I saw James Blake last year in the Arcade Fire pit...he farted!

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 11:24 AM

After watching those live videos... I don't get it

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 11:24 AM

wobblewave

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 11:30 AM

you had to be there

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 11:32 AM

how do i set my korg vocoder to this setting?

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 11:49 AM

"you had to be there"

Typically said when something sucks beyond words to explain how lame it actually was.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 11:53 AM

the xx had good music but no crossover sex appeal or look. james blake takes apes the music but adds in the hairut, the gay boy, the chill skater dude thing. destined for the etsy crowd!

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 11:56 AM

"you had to be there"

^
"Typically said when something sucks beyond words to explain how lame it actually was."


Or another possible translation: "You're not cool enough for me to want to tell you what happened." But yeah, your's also applies too.

Hate that fucking phrase.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 12:01 PM

the bass shook the room. those videos do not do the performance justice; it was out of this world.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 12:08 PM

Bore Core

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 12:10 PM

you had to be there makes sense when people dont go to something but talk shit like they were there, hence YOU HAD TO BE THERE.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 12:13 PM

great show. a mix between a classical performance and a dance club. if there was an 80s movie featuring a band from the future, this would be it. post retro futurism?

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 12:38 PM

If you were in that room, you knew you caught something special. Talk about living up the hype. Top notch performance.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 12:39 PM

where were bjork, antony and dirty projectors standing?

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 12:54 PM

This thread is giving me a headache. You had to be there - you could feel the low end pulsing through the floor the whole night. He's definitely going to play plenty of NYC shows over the next year.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 12:57 PM

The energy in the room was electric! James made eye contact with everyone in the room at one point or another. It was a night of magic and music and musing. I wanted more, but constantly thought, "can I handle more??". Definitely a night of alligning cosmos and ancestral stars. James Blake is the new face of entertainment and his album will make you all say, OK Comp..who?

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 1:04 PM

After James Blake's set, he picked up a basket of bread and fish, and somehow from that one basket, he had enough food for everyone in the audience to eat. He then turned bottles of poland spring into wine. After this, he walked back to where he was staying in Jersey City via foot over the Hudson River.

I just got a call from him today where he agreed to be my personal savior. Thank you, James Blake.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 1:16 PM

'You had to be there" Broooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 1:27 PM

I heard James Blake went down on every single person at the show last night. Truly an unreal event for those who attended.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 1:27 PM

Really 1:27pm? Guess you had to be there....I don't usually like when guys go down on me, but then again, I've never had the pleasure of having James Blake look me in the eyes.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 1:32 PM

I mean, me personally? I'd just ask for a hand job. Cuz I'm not gay.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 1:33 PM

1:04,

Really? Are you for fucking real? I was at the show and, yeah, it was good, enjoyable. But, come on...

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 1:38 PM

8=======D

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 1:49 PM

1:38...YOU were there??! Yah right bro! Sh!t was intensity in ten cities!

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 1:50 PM

why bjork is still going to that shitty hipsterish stupid concerts?
she would go back to london. or iceland, or kuala lumpur.

Posted by manuel | March 15, 2011 1:58 PM

These comments are just more reminders that BV commentators are a bunch of agoraphobic chode scratching dirt bags. James Blake is a singer/song writer that mixes elements from jazz, dubstep, uk funky,and grime, with elements of r&b and soul. Name me another artist that does that. Also name one that can pull all those things off live as well.

Yea, if you like metal you are probably not going to like James Blake. That seems like a given to me. Go ahead and listen to the the same same song played over and over with the lyrical quality of a shit bag thrown over your face.

And the Coldplay comparison is ridiculous. They are a pop band that sound like a pop band. How many of those are out there.

The people that bag on James Blake have no idea what kind of music he is even about or plays. And to the people who were there that cant explain what it was like Shame on you too.

He is great at harmonizing and dubbing his voice live while he plays his own material.
His compositions use electronic tracks embellished by live instruments and dubbing to create a very wide and dynamic array of sound all while using his soulful voice more like an instrument. He has perfect pitch, hits extremely high and low notes and treats cadenzas in an unique manner.

The encore was a bit of a flub for me, by far the least impressive of the evening. If you are judging him off a video from someones phone your points are automatically moot. The rest of his songs he pulled off with great emotion and soul. He is one of the most exciting artists to come out in a while.

If you dont agree why dont you name a few of your own favorite new artists.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 2:55 PM

I dunno, I think the guy who said he's the white Peabo Bryson kinda nailed it.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 3:07 PM

^Yeah he nailed it if you are a person who knows virtually nothing about music and just want to be a snarky moron.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 3:19 PM

Burn.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 3:21 PM

James Blake is spear heading the new genre if "hummus-step"

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 3:31 PM

I was at the show last night and I must say that is was one the best shows I've seen in recent times. he and his band were confident and powerful in their performance and completely won over the snobby "I've seen it all crowd". seriously, they were in the palm of his hand the whole time. to all his detractors, I don't think you should waste your time talking shit about him. he has a long career in music ahead of him. Blake strikes me as the kind of artist that will try and go in a couple different directions and sounds. one thing is for certain, he is incredibly talented and great live performer. that alone will take him very far.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 3:38 PM

Maybe he should write some songs instead of borrowing from Feist and James Litherland.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 3:44 PM

I love how the fact that "the bass shook the room" is a big deal to 12:08. Get thee to a REAL electronic performance / club soon.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 3:51 PM

"These comments are just more reminders that BV commentators are a bunch of agoraphobic chode scratching dirt bags. James Blake is a singer/song writer that mixes elements from jazz, dubstep, uk funky,and grime, with elements of r&b and soul. Name me another artist that does that. Also name one that can pull all those things off live as well."

Jack Johnson

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 3:52 PM

1:50,

Yes, I was there and I enjoyed myself. I wouldn't say "Best! Show! Ever!" but it was a solid U.S. debut for him and I'm sure the venues he plays will only get bigger.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 3:52 PM

Jack Johnson? Talk about an artist that is overrated.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 4:08 PM

lol at hipster douchbag ^

Posted by pffffLOL | March 15, 2011 4:08 PM

^ lol at someone who has bad taste.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 4:20 PM

some of these comments are hilarious

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 4:20 PM

Do people really listen to this faggy shit?

Posted by Jacuzzi Boys fan | March 15, 2011 4:21 PM

Jack Johnson mixes all those genre's? And he's a new artist?

***WARNING***

It is not advisable to smoke your hummus. It should be ingested only by macerating with your teeth. Smoking bowls of it has obviously caused you some major brain damage.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 4:36 PM

Jack Johnson is faggy shit. James Blake is an emotional genius. Big difference.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 4:38 PM

Smoking hummus? Wow! That's a good idea... Thanks 4:36! :)

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 4:48 PM

Princeton and Tennis are way faggier than Jack Johnson

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 4:59 PM

"an emotional genius"

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 5:26 PM

I just named my last dump "an emotional genius."

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 5:31 PM

You whippersnappers really need to listen to some Pigeonhed.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 6:23 PM

You guys that are defending James Blake do realize it's pointless and that the same 5 sad sacks have been posting all the negative comments, right?

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 6:29 PM

to everyone who enjoys this james blake, go listen to "fink" on ninja tune. he's a better, more cohesive version of this sound.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 7:16 PM

@3:44 don't fucking pretend like you had any idea who James litherland was.

Also I think someone quoted a chiodos song title earlier. really? To those who question why I know that, it's because I'm better than you.

King of limbs part 2 out in 2 weeks!

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 8:13 PM

I'll judge him based soley off his album. it's boring and I will not try to convince myself otherwise to enjoy it. it's so polished to the point of making you sick. his early stuff is at least listenable, though.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 8:48 PM

I was there. It was sick. I like metal but I like alot of types of music. What a bunch of tools commenting. It was a great show the kids talented. And that's it.

Posted by Milton | March 15, 2011 9:55 PM

totally disagree anon 8:48

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 10:02 PM

no one's a tool here. just opinions clashing is all. well, the person implying that if you don't like Blake than you like metal... you're a tool.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 11:09 PM

Blake is what happens when you take black music and strip it of all its necessity and force in order to make it more easy for white taste-seekers to swallow.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 11:15 PM

Hummus is what happens when you take chickpeas and mash them it in order to make it more easy for all taste-seekers to swallow.

Posted by Anonymous | March 15, 2011 11:24 PM

all of you need to get out of the house more.

Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2011 5:21 AM

James Blake is a hot little twink. Who gives a shit what he sounds like.

Posted by Anonymous | May 24, 2011 10:05 AM

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