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James Blake live at Pomona

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By Natalie Martinez

Today, there are few musicians who sound exactly like their recording. James Blake, however, is excluded from this. The English singer and producer’s voice is no like other with his low, soulful voice and angelic falsetto. Not only can he sing amazingly well, his production is unlike no other. Because of this, he has gained recognition from many hip-hop and rap artists like Kendrick Lamar and Beyoncé. And seeing him live, lives up to hype.

On Friday night, at the historic Fox Theatre Pomona, Blake began with Assume Form, the opening song of his new album of the same name. While it opens with a soft piano chord, this did not diminish the high energy from both Blake and the audience. He was able to balance his slower songs and fast, energetic songs by perfectly transitioning into them with minimal dialogue. He mainly played songs from his newest album, but kept some of the most loved songs from his past albums like “Timeless” and “Retrograde.” While performing these songs, he used lights and a fog machine to create and control the atmosphere. He did this perfectly in “Vouyer” off his second album, Overgrown. The green lights and fog mixed with the vibrations of the music was unmatched. He extended the song adding more electronic production without vocals to create a trance.

For the encore, James Blake ended with “Lullaby for an Insomniac.” He explained that this song was meant to put someone (most likely his girlfriend, actress Jameela Jamil) to sleep. He asks the crowd to be silent during this performance since he uses his own live voice to create the effects for the song. He records his voice and loops during the performance which is just magical. This fills the room and you’re just in awe of the music until he walks off the stage and the vocals continue.

Even though it was one of the calmer pit shows I’ve been too, it was also one of the best shows I’ve been to. If you have the opportunity to see James Blake live, I would highly recommend it. It is truly an experience.





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