James Blake brings the beauty of ‘The Colour In Anything’ to Los Angeles [Event Review]
James Blake’s music possesses a certain timelessness that many other artists lack. His style has only become more refined over time, as evidenced in the recent release of The Colour In Anything. Emotions are at an all-time high in his third artist album, where Blake magnifies his signature gloomy motifs with introspective lyrics and mellowed background tracks that allow his voice to shine.
The Colour In Anything was recently followed by a mini-tour. Its three stops sold out nearly instantaneously, highlighting how his fame has skyrocketed since “Limit To Your Love” cemented his entrance into R&B and electronic music six years ago. His album’s surprise release came conveniently after it was revealed he was a collaborator on Beyonce’s Lemonade, further showcasing Blake’s passage into the mainstream spotlight.
On an otherwise quiet Monday night in Los Angeles, James Blake packed in the Belasco theatre in Downtown. A palpable wave of excited energy had settled into the room as the crowd anxiously awaited what they expected would be a flawless live show. Blake did not fail to disappoint, opening his set on a surprising note with his popular single “Life Round Here” from Overgrown. Other classics played that night included “Retrograde,” “The Wilhelm Scream,” and “Voyeur,” the latter of which was expertly mixed in at the end of “I Hope My Life.”
photo credit: Christina House
“Radio Silence” followed with a smooth, falsetto-laden introduction which he then sampled on the spot, harmonizing with it throughout the rest of the song. His precise high notes made an even larger impact later on in the show when a soulful rendition of “My Willing Heart’s” opening verse was met with a thunderous round of applause. He displayed this same finesse in “Always,” which he paired with a colorful piano solo at the beginning and end of the song.
Blake staunchly maintained a sense of humility, exuding vulnerability in his voice that humanized him to the audience. He jokingly derided himself as “self-absorbed,” for instance, for not giving Moses Sumney and Connan Mockasin a shout out when he brought them out for a chilling performance of the album’s title track, which he admitted was one of his more personal pieces to date. Sumney later joined in for a surprise encore where the duo belted out “Modern Soul” as a memorable end to the night.
Attendees were still not ready for the show to end after twelve perfectly-executed compositions; Blake had completely captivated his audience, effectively reminding everyone in the room why he’s experienced such an immense amount of success over the years. No word has been revealed as of yet as to when a full album tour will take place.
photo credit: Annie Lesser & Christina House