Review: Jack Garratt live at Gretchen

Jack Garratt Copyright Briony Campbell 2015.

After arriving during the first song of support act Jarryd James, I climbed through the crowd of bearded hipster people to inspect what it said on his t-shirt. His entire band wore the phrase ‘#wtfisajackgarratt’ on their top half. So presumably that’s a thing. The 19th century venue hosting Jarryd and Jack has delicate pillars and tiled flooring allowing truly individual acoustics, giving the audience an experience different to any other on his tour.

Jack walked on stage 20 seconds late with his beard in full glory resulting in a double take to make sure the bearded bloke next to me was still in fact next to me and not magically hopped on stage. He was definitely still next to me and so was that other guy a couple of rows in front.

He’s not just a 6 trick pony

The intro displayed his undeniable technical ability with a jazzy piano instrumental. This flowed abruptly into the hit ‘Water’ with wobby dubstep bass, thick electric guitar lines and some Justin Vernon style falsetto vocals. These eclectic contrasts set the tone for the evening and kept us intrigued.

He swam through half of his set list and briefly set aside all the techy stuff and picked up an acoustic guitar, proving he wasn’t just a 6 trick pony but in fact, 7. He confidently asked the audience whether it was okay if he performed a disclosure song, receiving mixed responses from ‘yeEAh’ to ‘why???’ to pure indifference. Within the first few heartfelt lines he’d won everyone round triggering ‘shhh’s’ to the handful of those annoying people that attend gigs and insist on talking throughout. If the gig were seated, the end of that song would have been a small-to-medium-sized-standing-ovation moment.

 Get a mate to give him a hand

Jack Garratt has an imitable juggling dexterity with his instruments, clearly spending years in his bedroom mastering the art of the traditional 3 ball toss and gradually weened himself onto 4 and 5, maybe even 6. To perform this live in front of a 650 capacity crowd proved to be a challenge and there were 2 or 3 timing issues whilst balancing keys, drums, guitar, loop pedal, sampler and vocals all at once. Maybe he should let a ball go or get a mate to give him a hand. That said, it remained truly mesmerising throughout the entire performance.

It’s rare that a musician can sell out a venue of its size with only 7 songs to his name but both he and the crowd knew it. After the audience proclaim their dismay at the arrival of his penultimate song, he turned the blame onto them for buying a ticket- that they should have known he only had 5 songs and he’d already played 8 of them.

With Jack’s occasional Michael McIntyre-esque presence it’s evident he loves to perform and he has a firm grasp on how do it. After only being on the radar for a year or so and a skinny jean sized pocket full of songs, his quality pop tracks are the driving force behind his sell out show success. There will, of course, be much bigger things to come for him in 2016 with inevitable serious chart success.

Review by Mike Featherstone

Photo Copyright Briony Campbell 2015, used under Creative Commons Licence 2.


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