You have to wonder what kind of concentration it takes for a single performer to play a drum machine, piano, guitar, operate a loop pedal (check out the top three delay pedals here), and sing at relatively the same time on stage. “How is all of that energy contained in one person” was a question in constant loop as I watched Jack Garratt play last night at the Garrison in Toronto. At one point in between songs he remarked that his album was “just shitty little ideas in [his] head.” If the lyric “won’t you breathe life into these dead lungs I keep under my coat” is a shitty idea, then I have no idea what I’m still doing holding a pen in my hand.
Supporting Jack Garratt is Kacy Hill, an ethereal talent (sporting one of the hippest red velvet jumpsuits I’ve ever seen). Hill is on her first tour ever and currently working on her debut album. I was wholly unaware of her music prior to yesterday evening. Her set includes heavy, overwhelming drums and a beat that gets into your body. She has a stunning voice – it often begins quiet, and then all of a sudden she’s belting an incredibly powerful chorus, which takes me utterly by surprise. I raced home after the concert to download her EP, called Bloo, and can officially say that she is an artist to seriously watch over the coming year.
Garratt – despite a small hiccup at the very top of the show – had a near flawless set, and he kept his cool with an exceptionally rowdy crowd. Opening with a rousing performance of “Water,” Garratt set the energy at high levels for the remainder of the evening. Other standout numbers included “The Love You’re Given” and “Surprise Yourself”, a beautiful little ditty off Phase. “Surprise Yourself” was the single song Garratt played to a dead silent audience – its simplicity and purity, combined with the hush of the (at times over-zealous) crowd was absolute magic.
Perhaps the most delightful moments of the show, however, were the gleeful looks on Garratt’s face as the crowd sang his songs back to him. A friend who accompanied me to the show leaned forward during the first verse of “Weathered” (another stellar number in which Garratt pretty much let the audience take the wheel and sing along) and said to me “I imagine that must be the greatest feeling in the world.” I think, judging by the pleasantly surprised giggles from Jack Garratt as the entire crowd sang, she’s right. Garratt’s live performances display a level of artistry and originality the electronic music scene (and honestly, any music scene) hasn’t seen in a very long while. He should be congratulated on an incredible evening in Toronto.
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Review by Tanis Smither | @Tanisquinn