James Blake finally made it to Houston while travelling across North America for his Colour In Anything tour, bringing out Los Angeles native Moses Sumney as an opening act whose voice to simply put, was jaw dropping.
Known for being an iconic venue with a long and respected historical significance, House of Blues has been the spot for many great artists and bands to perform at. It’s spacious and dark setting gave the perfect mood for the stage setting Blake had in store for us, but not before letting Moses open up with a couple of songs.
I had never heard of Moses before and judging by the shocked expressions of the people around me once he started singing, neither did most of the crowd. Moses gave a little small talk, introducing himself then asking us to make “shhh” sounds. After a couple of seconds of more than a 1,000 people shushing, he started to add different beats such as snapping his fingers and tapping his microphone while adding different ranges of vocals. In less than 30 seconds, he had a whole beat, created in front of our very eyes and began singing “Worth It” into a different mic, hitting notes higher than we all thought possible. He gave off an easy going, chill vibe making little sarcastic side comments here and there that only a few with a good sense of humor would understand. Finishing off with a new song he had not yet released, Moses thanked the crowd and ducked off as the stage began to transform into something else.
We were greeted with blinding white light that soon turned into purple as Blake hit a few keys before kicking it off with an all time favorite. The audience came alive as he started crooning the lyrics to “Life Round Here” while lights dimmed and flashed and instruments brought the venue to life. After an amazing opening, the colors changed again and the hypnotic beat of “Timeless” started to play followed up by “A Limit To Your Love” from his past album Overgrown, then “Love Me In Whatever Way”, and the ever so beautiful “My Willing Heart”. Despite being a pretty sad, melancholy kind of album, James Blake and his band had the entire venue in awe and jumping together the whole time with an out of this world set up, amazing live instrumentals that made you appreciate his music even more, blending so perfectly with a digital backdrop that changed with each song, from different geometric shapes to a shadow of a bird flapping its wings in orange lights before exploding into a swarm of butterflies. The lyrics might have been heart wrenching but the show was far from depressing, the brilliant lights and synths creating a trance that made the experience one of a kind.
Blake chatted a bit about how much he’s wanted to come to Houston for a while, especially because it was Beyonce’s hometown and that it was a bit difficult to get to every city because of how big the States were. He then continued with “Radio Silence”, “Forward”, “Forest Fire” and “I Hope My Life (1-800 Mix)” which bled perfectly into the strictly instrumental freestyle that made the already hyped crowd go wild. Showers of cube shaped green, blue, purple then orange lights rained onto them as they played, coming to an end with “Colour In Anything”, “Always” and another crowd favorite, “Retrograde” before closing up with an old song “The Wilhelm Scream” from his first album James Blake which he mentioned was written with the help of his dad. After an extended play of the song, Blake and his band waved goodbye and disappeared from stage but no one was having it.
Several minutes went by with demands of an encore before Blake shyly walked back on stage alone. He mumbled about how he wasn’t expecting to do this and went blank for a couple of seconds before confessing how he “forgot what song he was going to play” making everyone laugh. Gathering himself together, Blake played “Case So Sweet” then surprised us by adding another acoustic number, except this time he’d made it into a loop so as he finished his last couple of lyrics and walked off the stage with a smile, his voice remained playing – a soft humming and mumbles of words accompanied by slow piano keys as the stage went dark for good this time.