Jack Garratt: Musical Octopus

I am writing this the morning after the gig and I’m still a bit dazed by what I witnessed, so bear with me.

OK, so Jack Garratt is an artist that I was urged to listen to, around a year and a half ago. Weathered was the first song I came across, and I was hooked to what I thought was his sound – but later realised that his sound cannot be defined by any one of his songs.

His album Phase is like a lucky bag full of dubstep, soft rock, electro, pop, trip-hop influences, and lyrics so intricate, they are almost obscure. His UK tour was announced and I deliberated (mainly due to the fact that I was broke at the time!) but when I found out there were only a few seated tickets left, I bagged them anyway.

I arrived at the Eventim Apollo a little late, so I sadly missed Seramic’s set – gutted! However, I am so glad I made it in time to see Gallant – I have wanted to see this guy for so long and I was over the moon that he was warming up for Jack Garratt! Incredible voice, an abundance of vigor and stage presence. It can’t have been easy warming up a packed out venue, but he did an amazing job.

Jack Garratt came on stage at around 9.15pm. All I remember is a lot of flashing lights, to the point where I felt like I was almost blind but mega excited for him to come out. He started with one of my favourite songs from Phase, Coalesce (Synesthesia, Pt. 2). Insane bass, incredible vocal range and gritty lyrics, – just a bloody great opener for a venue as big as the Apollo.

Every time Jack spoke to the crowd, I felt like I was witnessing a cartoon character in human form. I’ve been to so many gigs in my life, but I have never actually come across anyone quite like Jack. It was quite refreshing to see someone quite literally about to burst with excitement and appreciation for their sell-out show.

Jack teased us before every track, starting with a longer intro before surging into the lyrics. After treating us to the flawless ‘Breathe Life’, he performed ‘Weathered’. I was sat near the back, where people were generally a lot more reserved than those standing at the front – but his powerful performance got everyone singing along at the top of their voices.

Jack is a very clever performer. He winds up the audience and then gives them something better than they expected. His mash-up of Craig David’s ‘7 Days’ and JT’s ‘Senorita’ impressed the socks off us, and was welcomed after he gave us five-second teasers of famous songs he ‘might’ be covering. Great banter is a must at all gigs –and he delivered.

As he burst into ‘Fire’ (not literally, obvs!), it actually hit me that this guy really is a one-man band – a musical octopus, if you like. Jack was on stage with just two wonderful backing singers. He doesn’t have a drummer, a guitarist, a keyboardist or a bassist. He does it all himself, while singing. WTF? I struggle to make a cup of tea while having a conversation with someone. How is he able to do all of this, with 100x more energy than any other artist I’ve ever seen, while having banter with the audience? It almost felt surreal. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

Another standout moment was his performance of ‘The Love You’re Given’ – Jack’s first single. Again, with a fusion of so many different sounds, he cannot be pigeonholed in one genre. In fact, with every record, he breaks out of the pigeonhole with so much force, that there are splinters all over the shop. Do with them what you will.

His penultimate track was ‘My House is Your Home’, dedicated to his new fiancée who was raised in a Muslim-American household. A rare poignant moment in the high-energy show, which was enjoyed by all.

He finished with ‘Worry’, and got every single person in the Eventim Apollo up on their feet. Yes, even the miserable fuckers sat around me.

I couldn’t quite fathom what I made of the show. I think I would have preferred to be standing, rather than sat in the ‘reserved seating’ (now I get why this is so called), but I have never seen anyone perform quite like Jack Garratt. I feel lucky to have been part of it.

The only way to sum him up is that he’s a ginger Duracell bunny on a musical rampage.

You can have a listen to his album, Phase, right here.

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