[Review] Jamie Woon @ Manchester Club Academy 29/05/11
A gloomy looking sky hangs over Manchester City Centre on the eve of Sunday the 29th of May and nothing seems like it can brighten up the greyness. Step forward 28 year old London born and bred Jamie Woon, who last year shot into the eye of more than a few people for his single "Night Air", a vocal led, soul and sample filled track. Tonight he has a headline set at Manchester's Club Academy and everything seems a little brighter again.
Having released his full length debut just a month prior to his gig the venue was sold out and people seemed excited for what was about to come. He'd been tipped earlier in the year by BBC's Sound of 2011 Poll and the reason would become clear just an hour after he walked onto the stage. If you've seen videos of Jamie online or wherever you find them (I'd assume online unless you are in some weird time vortex,) then you'll most likely have seen him backed solely by an acoustic guitar and his effortless yet pitch perfect vox. Tonight he takes the stage with a backing band and the result was a wave of harmonious samples and drum beats intertwined to work effortlessly onstage.
The crowd seemed timid and it was mirrored by Jamie, but I found this endearing as he blasted few tracks from Mirror Writing. 30 minutes later he bid the crowd good night and played his hit "Night Sky" as the crowd sang along. Walking of the stage him and his band disappeared into the tunnels of backstage. In the blink of an eye Jamie returned to the stage, this time on his lonesome. He was about to take it to another level with his acoustic backed solo vibe. I was stood motionless just soaking it all in. I was quite frankly blown away. I may have peaked too early though.
Next Jamie surprised be again, this time though the whole crowd was taken a back as he started beat boxing, only to effortlessly loop it with his pedal and add layer upon layer to the track before the finishing touch, a good old fashioned crowd harmony and sing along to "Spirits". (You can take a look at this down at the bottom if you like courtesy of Youtube user MsBobification, who actually has a few others on their channel too if you weren't at the show).
What I'd just seen was something I was completely unprepared for, I had gone in liking what I knew of Jamie Woon, his album, his videos, but yet I'd come out a gushing fan, praising him to anyone who'd listen. How was this possible when just 90 minutes earlier the doom and gloom of Manchester was ready to swallow me up. Upon leaving the venue the sun still hadn't set and it oddly seemed brighter than when entering. I take my hat off to what was a great show from an ever growing talent. Watch this space and in the mean time go pick up his album, Mirrorwriting.