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[phlipcam video] James Blake @ the Paradise

Way back in December of yesteryear, I threw a tongue-in-cheek post On the Download poking fun at the perpetual snowball of hype in which JAMES BLAKE was trapped. Then his debut LP dropped, and while I showered it in nothing but praise, I couldn't really find anything there that could justify giving it more the rating I did. Since then however, I've spent a lot more time with it and realized it sounds just as delectable in the months of March through October as it did back in February. If granted the opportunity to re-rate by music criticism gods, I'd probably throw it something like a 3.6666666666666 out of 4. Not perfect by any means, but in today's disposable age of music that sits on my desktop in a zip file for six months before I get around to listening, anything that I find myself returning to as often as I do with James Blake is about as perfect as it gets.

Then just last week, my Phoenix cohort Liz Pelly literally broke the internet with her interview in which the 22-year old Brit threw American dubstep under the rolling-so-hard-right-now bus. He didn't name any names, but the cynical prick in me likes to think he may have been reference a certain someone who recently (dis)graced the cover of Spin. Or quite possibly another someone who seemingly travels through our fair city approximately once every two weeks. Regardless, the fact that we share a similar distaste for brostep only led me to fall further in love with the man.

Last night sealed the deal though. That facetious post from December? No longer facetious.

A lot has been made about the space in James Blake's music. The dead air surrounding his baritone or piano stabs or bass rumbles, that only assist in accentuating their delicacy. In fact, so much has been made about it that I feel like an ass for even bringing it up. But it would be damn near impossible to talk about last night's Paradise gig without mentioning it. Truly one of the most stunning live music experiences I can recall in recent memory: Watching the sold-out room sit in absolutely transfixed silence while he ever so gently ran through a set consisting of a selection that drew evenly from his debut LP and his litany of EPs.

But it wasn't just the ballads that made the show, as evidenced from the videos I have here. He also offered up some of his bass-centric works as well. Up top is a silly awesome take on "CMYK," a song that didn't seem like it could possibly be translated into a live band performance. And below is "Klavierwerke." He also covered "Anti-War Dub" by Digital Mystikz for the encore, before doing a 180 into a stunning solo rendition of Joni Mitchell's "A Case of You." Sorry I didn't get video of that. I was too busy awkwardly transitioning from wiping tears off my face and headbanging.

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