First seen on AMNplify!
The award-winning London-based singer, producer and multi-instrumentalist Jack Garratt hit Australian shores earlier this week, playing some sideshows ahead of his spot in Splendour in the Grass at North Byron Parklands. His debut album Phase dropped in February this year to critical acclaim and was awarded triple j’s feature album. AMNplify had the opportunity to check out his sold-out Sydney show on a Thursday night at the Metro Theatre.
Supporting from the US: Kacy Hill and her two band mates contributed a sound that was easily much larger than the space they were given to work with. The drummer and keyboardist’s matching striped shirts and black blazers made a nice touch, backing Kacy’s high tremulous voice with deliberate beats and atmospheric electronic pop. With only six tracks to rev up the packed crowd, Kacy and the boys started the set at 100% and turned it up from there.
After smashing out the first track, Kacy eagerly greeted us. Her awkwardness came off as a goofy sort of charm that instantly won over her audience, although it seemed totally at odds with the maturity of her music. She debuted a new song from an upcoming album, Hard To Love as well as Keep Me Sane, both worth checking out when you get the chance.
In between songs Kacy was so overcome with excitement/delirious with jet lag, she sounded at times a bit like a voice actor from a Disney Playhouse episode. All three of them were characters in their own right, the drummer beating the shit out of his kit like it did him a grievous wrong, and the keyboardist had some dance moves that simply need to be seen to be believed. The Metro grew incredibly fond of her, whether as an adorable somewhat clumsy kitten (for she told us about only wearing one contact and almost tripping because of it) or as the fierce lion she sings about, I’m not sure.
Jack Garratt’s set was nothing short of eventful, filled with hilarious improv, covers and technical difficulties as well as guitar and drum solos amongst crowd favourite tracks Breathe Life and Worry. He stood at the centre of the stage cloistered by instruments and surrounded by angled lighting rigs, utterly a one-man band, as he powered through the first two tracks, inserting a cute little “Hello Sydney!” address mid-song.
With a guitar in hand for the third track, he teased the crowd mercilessly, seemingly enjoying himself and miffed at the same time that they would anticipate what song he was about to play. At one stage they cheered so loudly Jack silenced them with the closing of his fists such as you would for a choir. Jack began to pick out the melody of Weathered and the crowd immediately began to sing along, at which point he stopped them and explained this had happened in Melbourne the night before. He asked for someone backstage to film the crowd as they essentially sang the whole first verse and chorus before he took over, ramping it up with drums and layers of keys and synths. The entire venue sang along, and credit to the sound techs for keeping Jack’s lovely voice audible without deafening us.
Having finished that track, Jack claimed those were the only songs he had and launched into a piano and vocal cover of Michael McDonald, drawing cheers until he abruptly stopped and said, “No, I’m not fucking gonna play that!” Apparently he only found out a week ago that Phase did well here.
Unfortunately, after playing through Far Cry, technical malfunctions struck.
While stage hands fiddled about with his setup, Jack treated us to several instances of improve jazz piano that was later embellished with mouth trumpet that drew far too much applause than he thought it was worth. (It was honestly the best mouth trumpet I’ve ever heard though.) When everything seemed to be resolved, it seemed like Jack was testing out the device when people recognised the beat from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme. And so went another performance shared between The Metro and Jack Garratt, the endless good sport even in the face of some apparently significant malfunctions.
The Craig David/Justine Timberlake mashup cover Jack performed on BBC’s Live Lounge made an appearance. Definitive crowd-pleaser right there. From there the rest of the set went quite quickly, cut a bit short from all the delays between songs. His final address was the only point in the night where Jack became somewhat philosophical: “Every award I’ve won and everything I’ve done is nothing compared to what I might do tomorrow” – an attitude he encouraged his audience to carry as well.
Even though some things went wrong last night, a lot of things went so right. Jack Garratt is the kind of performer who will stop at nothing to make sure that his crowd is enjoying themselves. Even in the face of glitches he displays a professionalism alongside sheer instrumental talent and melodic genius and one of the few falsettos that lends itself beautifully to his music. It was an honour to witness this man on stage.
Check out Andrew’s full gallery HERE
Connect with Jack Garratt
Coalesce (Synaesthesia Pt. II)
Seven Days/Senorita (Crag David/Justin Timberlake)
The Love You’r Given