Jamie Lidell, Koko, London
Monday 05 May 2008
Jamie Lidell is used to being a soloist, by nature as well as by name. His performances once consisted simply of himself and his unique, symbiotic sound-desk set-up, which allowed him to layer his beat-boxing and remarkable soul vocal into complete tracks without the interference of anything so old-fashioned as a band.
But the sound of his new album, Jim – a mash-up of Motown and his own, more modern sensibilities – invites the participation of other players, so he's assembled a group of accomplished jazz musos from among his Berlin-based gang, and morphed himself from an avant-garde solo act into an assured frontman.
Among his accompanists is Andre Vida, a saxophonist who's played with freejazz pioneer Anthony Braxton, and Mocky, who wrote and produced Jim alongside Lidell, and contributes to the live show with plenty of shaking and banging of various bits of percussion.
At first Lidell seems bewildered by the crowd's attention, trotting humbly onstage in a fetching white suit. But when he starts to sing the album opener "Another Day", any trace of bashfulness dissipates. In a night of wondrous variety, he channels black vocalists from Ray Charles to Prince via Marvin Gaye. He dances like a kid who's drunk too much orange squash. It's thoroughly infectious.
The frantic "Out of my System" breaks down into a spot of invigorating, improvised looping. The rest of the band, left to their own devices as Lidell bonds with his laptop, dance joyfully to his tribal beats and breathy Michael Jackson vocals.
The dance break recalls Lidell's early work as one half of the electronica duo Super Collider, and he's obviously keen to show off the breadth of his talents, but it's his soul stylings that'll give him the best chance of chart success, and the band segue skilfully back into the mix for the jerky "A Little Bit More", followed by two gems from Jim, the brassy shoe-shuffler "Feel Good" and ballad "All I Wanna Do".
The concluding number is a souped-up version of Lidell's best known single "Multiply", from the album of the same name. That record was meant to be Lidell's commercial crossover, but somehow it ended up tucked away in the dance section of most music stores. Jim is a more straightforward proposition, and deserves to propel this adventurous artist into the mainstream.
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
- 2 Perez Hilton apologises for Jennifer Lawrence nude photo leak
- 3 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 4 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
- 5 Isis terror threat: Leading British Muslims issue fatwa condemning terror group
Unseen Charlie and the Chocolate Factory chapter deemed 'too subversive' released
Strictly Come Dancing 2014: Gregg Wallace joins Mark Wright, Pixie Lott and Judy Murray in line-up
Doctor Who, Into the Dalek, TV review: Classic sci-fi adventure has blockbuster spectacle
Nicki Minaj suffers wardrobe malfunction during MTV VMAs performance with Ariana Grande and Jessie J
Al Pacino's The Humbling and Manglehorn, film reviews
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward