7 June, 2011
Nottingham’s Rescue Rooms is quite a small venue, and with Jamie Woon selling out his only date in the city, the setting is intimate to say the least.
London solo artist Jono McCleery kicks the night off with mellow vocals accompanied by complex beats from his fantastic rhythm section. It is easy to see why he’s been chosen to support Woon on his tour, and it certainly whet the audience’s appetite for the evening ahead.
When the time comes, Jamie casually saunters on to the stage, greeting the crowd with a “Hey, how you doing?” before launching into his first song. Not a huge talker, Woon sails through the first few songs without too much audience interaction, but the crowd don’t seem to mind. It’s an odd night in some respects, as the crowd don’t seem to pay much attention to Woon for the first twenty minutes or so, chatting away as if he were merely some light entertainment in the background. Yet at the end of each song the room falls silent, bar the sound of clapping and cheering.
About halfway through the set, a couple of noises emanate from the stage, and as people begin to realise what it is, the audience start cheering with delight: ‘Night Air’ starts, and the atmosphere in the room immediately changes. The crowd, who were polite and appreciative – but not overly animated – suddenly start swaying in unison as the venue filled with energy. The mood obviously rubs off on Jamie, as he seems to relax and is visibly pleased that people are singing along to the track – which is executed beautifully, his falsetto brilliantly offset by a dirty bass line.
Equally, the start of ‘Lady Luck’ is almost inaudible over the cheering from the crowd, as Jamie announces it as the last song of the night. A real stand-out of the evening, the live version dpesn’t disappoint and is actually better than the recorded version. Woon’s vocals are probably the strongest they’d been all evening, and the band are excellent – with a fantastic drum breakdown midway through the song.
Jamie Woon plays most of the tracks from his album ‘Mirrorwriting’ during the main set, but re-emerges for a decent encore, which included a great rendition of ‘Spirits’. The singer is evidently more relaxed this time round, and between songs starts having a chat with a girl who is celebrating her birthday. After a few minutes of banter, he moves on to the next song, which, regrettably, isn’t ‘Happy Birthday’. Instead, the evening ends with ‘Wayfaring Stranger’, a hauntingly beautiful spiritual which is quite moving. Woon’s voice shines as he sings acapella, with the crowd getting involved with the ‘oh’-ing and clapping throughout the track – it’s a brilliant ending to the evening.
As with most graduates from the BRIT school, Jamie Woon has a polished performance that wins the audience over. Though at times his songs sounds a lot more mainstream (read: pop) than expected, and his vocal occasionally veers toward Craig David territory. But it is an enjoyable evening, and, if nothing else, proves that Jamie Woon is more than just a guy with a laptop and mixer.