LIVE REVIEW: Jack Garratt, Village Underground, London, 26/05/15

Jack Garratt, for all intents and purposes, is already a star. And that’s saying something for a man who only has a handful of songs to his name. It’s hard to disagree when you see that he’s sold out a rather large London venue for the second night in a row, but is this beautiful, bearded specimen just another proponent of radio hype?

The answer is a resounding no, as Garratt takes the last night of his tour to prove what a star he is. With the mood perfectly set by support acts Billie Black and Nimmo (catch them live asap if you can), Garratt kicks off with pure spectacle: a kaleidoscopic light show to accompany his first song, Water. We’ve never seen a showstopper at the top of a show, but there you go.

The show is an expert balance of light and shade, i.e. the dub-pop that skyrocketed Garratt’s career (like the stunning Chemical) and the darker, older ballads like Old and Surprise Yourself which hold an audience’s attention to pin-drop silence. When the man sings that you realise how differently his career could have gone. Switching between bluesy rasp and choirboy falsetto (which bridges the goosebump-gap between Antony Hegarty and James Blake) without a breath, his is the look and voice that, as an outsider alt-folk troubadour, would have the country weeping on the X Factor. Luckily, Garratt has chosen a much worthy route than offering is wa-wa-womp brilliance to Cowell and co.

It’s all helped by his genuine humility, dealing with the biological quandaries of a “I want your babies” yell from the crowd and still making us laugh with effortless charm. By the time The Love You’re Given rolls around, this much is certain: Jack Garratt is a homegrown star, and there’s very little to stop that marvellous beard going stratospheric.

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Jack Garratt, Village Underground London, 26/05/15
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