Arriving at Concorde 2, the award-winning navel of Brighton’s music scene, my friend and I were impressed by the diversity of the audience who had gathered to listen to the music of Jamie Woon. The ironic grey hair colouring of the classic Brighton hipster was neatly harmonised amidst the natural strands of those who were at gigs before the advent of compact discs. A father and son enjoyed the melodic rhythm of the BBC’s ‘Sound of 2011′ nominee’s vocal range. Another pair enjoyed the energetic percussion as the soundtrack to the pinnacle of their first tinder date. Perhaps it is the indiscernible definition of Woon’s genre which attracts such a far-reaching audience.
On stage the singer/guitarist was supported by two more vocalists, keys, drums and base; together they created a soulful downtempo, R&B electronica. He performed his most popular song, ‘Night Air’, towards the beginning of the show, a song I have enjoyed since I discovered it in Berlin. From then I did not really know what to expect as I was relatively unfamiliar with the musicians repertoire. The show started off well and satisfied my taste for both vocal and instrumental audio, however, the inevitable mid-show dip was induced by the flavour of lyrical pop music. I think that lyrics can be beautiful and important to the structure and aesthetic of a piece of music. For example in his rendition of the folk song ‘Wayfaring Stranger,’ the poetry is the heart of the track. However, there were moments during the middle of the show when the lyrics became simply unnecessary. Despite the stage filled with talented musicians, I was convinced that I was listening to a motivational ‘stop smoking while you sleep’ tape after the fiftieth repetition of the phrase ‘try again’. This slight dip in the mood was not helped by the presence a couple of young ladies who, upon returning from a failed mission to wriggle their way to the front, proceeded to incessantly Snapchat their entire experience. I thought we had all agreed to stop that since Beyoncé, Bjork and a bunch of other stars revealed how fucking annoying it is.
The volume increased, the instruments converged and the vocals returned to an obscure compliment of the overall composition. After each member of the group gave a short solo, the performers seemed to become a more cohesive ensemble, and what they created was a truly impressive cocktail of talent. Woon uses a quote from Bruce Lee on his Facebook page to describe his genre- “Man, the living creature, the creating individual, is always more important than any established style or system”. This is an interesting concept which surely resonates with what I heard on Tuesday evening.
Words by Tom Lund.