“Genre transcending excellence”
Coming up the hill towards the monolithic Alexandra Palace, the pantone-esque album cover for Jamie XX’s ‘In Colours’ was projected onto the old radio tower’s main façade. The colour spectrum is a visual metaphor for the variety and breadth of the young Londoner’s talent.
In what might be a 2016 trend after DJ EZ’s 24 hour charity set, we found out Jamie had played a three hour set in aid of War Child on Dalton’s LN-CC. Performing for charity – could we love him anymore?
At 26 years of age, his CV is both intimidating and inspirational for young wannabe producers. He has produced 2 stunning albums with The XX, reimagining minimal for all mainstream millennials, he has also reworked the late Gil Scott Heron’s ‘I’m New Here’ and now produced ‘In Colours’. Lest I forget huge remixes of Adele’s ‘Rolling In The Deep’ and Florence’s ‘You Got The Love’.
One of the question marks beforehand was whether Alexandra Palace is the kind of venue suited to the Brit and Grammy nominated producer’s music? With his minimal origins, could he play such a vast venue, packed to the rafters with 8000 fans? It turns out the answer is a massive yes.
Opening up with a remix of the late David Bowie’s ‘Let’s Dance’, the vast majority of the crowd followed Bowie’s instruction, although the usual sea of mobile phones couldn’t be missed. Rather than moan about this old trend, we should just be wary of the inevitable (and literal) rise of the selfie stick at venues nationwide. Rant over.
Over the following 2 hours, he treated fans to tunes from ‘In Colours’ with the odd unexpected remix thrown in, including ‘NY is Killing Me’ from 2011’s ‘We’re New Here’.
Jamie has that increasingly rare talent for seamlessly blending genres into a live set. Minimal, reggae, dubstep, garage and jungle were just some of the genres he touched on. The massive ‘All Under One Roof Raving’ filled the house with its thick bass and sat alongside the sun soaked ‘Loud Places’. 90’s rave builder ‘Gosh’ was a smooth fit alongside ‘Sleep Sound’ with its trademark XX sound.
Watching him he seems reluctant to let any emotion or ecstasy spill beyond the confines of his decks. He looks profoundly focused on his decks, where he punches out his trademark rubbery bass and steel pans.
At a lot of deejays after parties you might expect cocaine and excess. Even at his own after party Jamie remained excruciatingly shy and humble. Asked whether he enjoyed the show, he confessed he felt overwhelmed by the whole thing. Jamie Smith is a remarkably honest man, a rare breed who is seems to be driven not by money, not by fame, but consistently producing increasingly classy tracks.
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