don't you tell me how i feel.


jamie lidell, music hall of williamsburg by v
April 17, 2013, 8:19 am
Filed under: Shit I love, Shows | Tags: , ,

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Just before Jamie Lidell came onstage at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn last weekend (following the disappointingly one-note opener Empress Of), I overheard a British couple next to me talking about seeing Coldplay live. Sure, Chris Martin is a decent singer, the guy told his girlfriend, but “this guy [Jamie Lidell] comes out and sings like Stevie Wonder.” 

Um, NO FREAKING CONTEST.

I’ve sung his praises on this blog countless times before, but Jamie Lidell is one of the most masterful musicians I’ve seen live, not only because his voice is truly an instrument (it takes a second for you to realize it isn’t pre-recorded), but also because his live-looping skills are insane and his delight in performing is palpable — when he’s not singing, he’s smiling.

I’d seen him play with a small band a few years back at CMJ, but this tour was a much slicker solo affair, with Lidell perched behind a spaceship covered in electronic gear. He wore what looked like a long lab coat with gold epaulets, and swarms of geometric shapes undulated behind him.  

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Unlike some musicians touring in support of a recent album, Lidell didn’t pull any “only-the-new-songs” bullshit. But neither does he perform the hits in their original incarnations; instead, he reworks them until they’re recognizable by lyrics only. Why stay true to the record if you can craft a beatboxed loop on the spot and sing over it, then blend it seamlessly into another song (assuming you’re capable of such wizardry)? And thus, my eternal touring question — How can you play the same songs every night without eventually starting to loathe everything you’ve ever created? — is answered.

Highlights included his new album opener “What a Shame” (posted below) and a lengthy version of “Multiply” with participation from suspiciously vocally skilled audience members (plants, perhaps?). I also enjoyed his anecdote about Lil’ Wayne sampling his material — have a listen below, and check out Weezy’s version here.

Long story short: see this man live. He is a genius.

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