Jack Garratt at the Hammersmith Apollo
Jack Garratt is certainly a victim of hipster culture and has got the beard to prove it. However, seeing him live you can’t fail to be impressed. Aside from the help of two backing singers (accompanying him for the first time at the Hammersmith Apollo), Garratt is a one-man band. He sings, loops beats and plays synth and guitar lines over the top, sometimes juggling multiple instruments simultaneously. His music, edged with elements of neo-soul, electro and rock, is compelling and if this isn’t enough to impress, his energy and charisma on stage will be.
Since winning BBC’s sound of 2016 Garratt has gained an incrementally larger following. His debut album Phase has become a critical and popular success with the single ‘Worry’ charting at 67. With this newfound popularity Jack seemed genuinely chuffed to be onstage at the Hammersmith Apollo, continuously remarking on the number of people in the audience with the wide-eyed enthusiasm of an excited child at Christmas.
The gig itself started with two support acts: Ceramic, a powerful gospel, soul, rock outfit, and Gallant – an American R&B artist with an unbelievably high falsetto. Both of these acts were very enjoyable and complimented Garratt’s sound and style. Beginning on ‘Coalesce’ and ‘Breathe Life’, Garratt’s set was full of energy from the off. His groove-filled electro sound was often topped off with drum solos played on a real kit, adding the acoustic edge the show needed to save it feeling too boxed in and computer-generated. Personal highlights were ‘The Love You’re Given’, where the crowd screamed the sampled vocals in unison, and inevitable set closer, ‘Worry’, which lived up to all expectation. The set’s only weak point was a section of covers which, while fun, lacked the same emotion and power of Garratt’s own material.
Jack’s cheeky-chappy routine may not be to everyone’s tastes but he came across as charismatic and very experienced when talking to the crowd. He even raised the issue of scapegoating in the current political climate after mentioning his recent proposal to his fiancé, an American Muslim. This brief political forray was unexpected but much needed in such an unstable and worrying time. His fiancé’s family and his own were there to see what was clearly a landmark performance for Garratt. This fed into the atmosphere and tone of the night, which along with his powerful and energetic music, made for an unmissable show – a highlight of his career so far.
Featured image: Chalk Press Agency.