Friday, 22 July 2011

Latitude Festival 2011: Friday - James Blake, The Lake Stage



Sunday
James Blake, The Lake Stage

James Blake's self titled debut album has offered the world of music a sensational new take on song-writing. Drawing fans as prestigious as Paul Simon, the 21 year old recent graduate's special set on Sunday night was sure to be something remarkable.

My hopes of a memorable set were not dashed; the mesmorising music of Blake and his band consisting of a drummer and guitarist put me in a complete trance. He is undeniably an ex-music student as his songs displayed complex and intelligent time-signatures, live vocal manipulation and experimentation with breaking the norm of popular music. Playing the open air Lake Stage at night secured an unmatchable atmosphere, with long pauses within songs which in any other situation would be awkward, but on the contrary added to the hypnotising element of Blake's music.

The Lake Stage is the introducing stage curated by Huw Stephens, usually accommodating up and coming and unsigned acts and is the smallest venue at the festival. To see Blake play such an intimate setting made the gig feel all the more special. As stage headliners Eels, Suede and Crystal Fighters finished their sets, punters surrounded the small stage as far as the eye could see. Blake performed his incredibly well received cover of Feist's Limit To Your Love to the cheers of his fast-growing fan base.

Closing on a rethought version of his father James Litherland's song Where To Turn, or as Blake renamed it The Wilhelm Scream, Blake sent off Latitude Festival 2011 on a high note. It would be a travesty if he didn't win the Mercury, I can think of no artist more deserving of this year's award.

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