JAMIE WOON @ XOYO, LONDON

A review for Virtual Festivals about the amazing Jamie Woon….
25th November 2011
 

Lexi Rose continues on our Ones To Watch path, this time hunting out the elusive Jamie Woon.

 In 2008 a mysterious unknown artist popped up on Radio One with an eerie song called ‘Wayfaring Stranger’ – an old folk song remixed by the soon-to-be Mercury nominated Burial. It became a cult track, with people wondering who this poor wayfaring stranger was and where could they hear more?Two years of silence followed until the likes of Zane Lowe and Mary-Anne Hobbs started championing ‘Night Air’ – Jamie Woon‘s comeback track that is set to launch him into the limelight in 2011. The reaction was bigger than expected and resulted in the single becoming both Nick Grimshaw and Greg James’ “Record of the Week” on Radio 1.So when Woon announced his only gig of 2010, tickets sold out within days of going on sale with fans eager to discover if he can live up to the success of ‘Night Air’.

Certainly by the time the shadow of the elusive Woon appears upon the stripped down stage it is apparent he won’t disappoint. Opening with a new album track called ‘Tomorrow’, Woon shows off his silky smooth vocals, flawless and wrapping themselves around the slow rhythmic base notes. The sound appropriately builds up to fill the apt industrial surroundings of the venue.

There is humbleness to Woon, who is visibly taken aback by the reaction of the crowd to his opening number, telling them, “This is the first time I’ve sold out anything in my life – so that’s wicked. Thank you.”

Next, the crowd are treated to rumoured follow up single ‘Lady Luck’ a more laid back tune which has elements of RnB and shows off the varied vocal abilities of Woon. The lyrics, “Lady Luck ain’t playing on my side/Lady Luck ain’t smiling down” almost seem ironic given his recent accomplishments but perhaps a glimpse at the journey of an artist who’s been on the circuit for the past decade. His presence is like his music – understated cool. Dressed in a plain shirt and jeans, Woon’s passion and energy exude through his voice – he needs no gimmicks.

But it is when he announces the track ‘Spirits’ that Woon suddenly comes into his own. An accapella song that, with the aid of a loop pedal, is slowly layered up with Woon’s beat boxing and vocals to build an amazing track, it is truly captivating to watch and without a doubt the highlight of the night.

As the track ‘Night Air’ kicks in – it becomes clear this is what the majority came to hear. To their further delight the song descends into a freestyle jam with the band. Woon seems overwhelmed as the crowd chant for ‘Wayfaring Stranger’ – so of course he happily obliges. The night is then rounded off with definite future hit ‘The Middle’ a catchy tune that displays elements of funk.

Jamie Woon’s music can’t exactly be described as commercial. It can also be seen as quite downbeat, during his set he quipped that, “upbeat stuff is out of character for me”. That’s true, but his smooth melodies accompany the relaxed nature of the dubstep influenced drumbeats that keeps the music on the right side of melancholy. And with the recent success of his album’s producer Burial, Magnetic Men and Katy B accompanied with direct comparisons to the XX, show that this is the perfect timing for Woon and he will almost certainly live up to the hype.


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