Jamie Woon @ Scala, London

So there we were, myself and fellow Hotcakes baker Seb, at London’s Scala eagerly anticipating one of the first live performances of the much hyped Jamie Woon.

Scala, even when sold-out, is an intimate venue; seemingly perfect for Woon’s downbeat style and emotive delivery. With Ghostpoet in support – his blend of half sung, half spoken vocals and an indie/hip-hop crossover score warming up the crowd to good effect – we thought were in for a good night…

Then entered Woon and we were greeted by one of the most disappointing performances of our lives. It’s not that he’s lacking talent, he has an excellent singing voice and the inclusion of a backing group worked insofar as it provided something of a spectacle and added elements to the performance that would have otherwise been missed. The problem came with the realisation that what we were watching was essentially Craig David II. I’m not a Craig David hater but the man had his time and it was 10 years ago. ‘Lady Luck’ is a perfect example of what I’m talking about:

Jamie Woon – Lady Luck

It was abundantly clear that his best work so far, the brooding track ‘Night Air’, drew its strength from its producer, namely electronica and dubstep’s most universally adored artist, the ever-conspicuous Burial. Only then, when Woon’s vocals are constrained from his overwise garage ballad style, does everything come together.

So, disappointment reigns, but perhaps his inclusion in the reliably misfiring BBC Radio 1’s artists of year list should have already told me everything I needed to know. Anyway, I hate to be negative for a whole post so let’s remind ourselves of how good a Jamie Woon and Burial combination can be and pray that ‘Night Air’ doesn’t remain an exception.

Jamie Woon – Night Air [alt]

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2 Responses to “Jamie Woon @ Scala, London”

  1. I haven’t seen him live, but I’m not sure about the Craig David comparisons. He seems to be going for moody tracks with some deep soul influences, and his voice is great and could be poppy but he conveys a sincerity that I don’t think is very common.

    Night Air is an amazing collaboration, but I dig Lady Luck almost as much – the beats are honest, a little rough around the edges, a little too real to be going straight for the pop market. It actually reminds me of Justin Timberlake ‘Cry Me A River’ if it was made in Brixton.

    Loving his stuff to be honest. Have to check him out live.

    Thanks for your post!

    Cheers,

    Jake

  2. Hi Jake, thanks for your thoughts. I should say that I was probably coming to the gig with a false perception of Woon which affected my opinion of the show. That’s my problem though and certainly he went down well with most people there.

    I still live the studio instrumentals but once they performed by the live band they just sounded like straight pop music. What with Woon’s vocals sounding like pop ballads as well, the whole experience wasn’t great. I think he’s got talent but he needs someone else to give him some direction if he wants to be making the music people are expecting from him. Or maybe it’s just me!

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