Jamie Woon, Ghostpoet, Matt Corby
Lorcan O'Brien 20/02/2011
Matt Corby got the night off to a mellow but pleasant start, drawing plenty of praise form an attentive crowd. Luckily for him the collection of Bristol's hipsters and music lovers that made up the audience were oblivious to his industry roots in “Australian Idol” and didn't pre-judge (as is customary for anyone even remotely associated with Simon Cowell). I'm glad they didn't because he's a respectable artist in his own right, without the baggage of his pop past. Since 2007 when he was runner up in “Australian Idol” at the age of sixteen, he's gained three things, musical integrity, my admiration and a hell of a lot of hair. Far from ground-breaking but certainly worth it if he's in town.
The crowd had a definite sense of anticipation, looking forward to the headline slot, so it was impressive that second support, Ghostpet, managed to grab their attention with such ease. Before they knew it, the charismatic frontman had dragged the crowd from the soft pillows of acoustic chillout onto the cold streets of grimy electro trip-pop… and they loved it. An impressive set that got a fair few heads moving (quite an achievement for a 9pm support slot on a Sunday evening). He's consistently compared to Roots Manuva, and you can see why; the vocals sound virtually the same, but don't let that put you off. It's a pretty diverse sound that bounces between trippy Portishead vibes and the livelier electro-dub sounds of tracks like Chash and Carry Me Home. Definitely one to watch out for.
With massive publicity from his Burial co-produced single Night Air and the stunning “loop-pedal” rendition of Spirits on Youtube getting more hits than Tyson, it's been hard to escape Jamie Woon this year. Yet another artist hotly tipped for 2011, I was intrigued to see how he would live up to the reputation the industry has given him.
The crowd cheered enthusiastically in all the right places and seemed to be enjoying it, but there was a definite sense that they were underwhelmed as the applause dropped into near silence between tracks. Its almost as if they cheered because they knew they should. Arduously wading through the sea of hype that surrounds him like treacle, we eventually reach a panting and sticky conclusion; he doesn't quite live up to our expectations. By no means was it a poor performance, quite the opposite; atmospheric, immersive and talented… but just not quite there. The addition of a band to his performance detracted a lot from the integrity and immediacy of the raw solo performances that made him so popular.
The fact is that there are already enough soulful, ambient, dubby British boys beginning with J this year (think Jamie XX and James Blake) and there's just not room for another.