Live Review Jamie Woon, O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London

The show comes off not unlike an awkward, overly prepared open-mic night performance.

“Look into my eyes, can't you see they're open wide - would I lie to you, baby, would I lie to you?”

Well this is great. Who doesn't love a bit of Charles & Eddie on a Thursday night? A packed out venue, full of people who actually remember this coming out. Woon croons it, the song perfectly adapted to his sound; a sound which has, as of recently, been classed as 'post-dubstep'. It was inevitable, they had to give this non-genre a name sooner or later... It's just... well, 'post-dubstep' just sounds ridiculous. Now I could go on and on about how strongly I disagree with this new label, but this is a review about Jamie Woon, not the category you'd find his record in at Pure Groove.

It seems only a little over a year ago that Woon was coming up on the inside, buzzing under the radar, poised to break cover at any minute. “You guys should check out this guy Jamie Woon; like James Blake, bit Jamie xx... no it's not a joke that they're all called James.” Well, regardless, he is now filling a sold out O2 Shepherd's Bush. Quite a feat for such a recent breakthrough act.

On listening to his record 'Mirrorwriting', released on Polydor last April, his shtick seems evident: here's a guy with a wonderful voice who has decided to layer it over some beats, beats of the Mount Kimbie and James Blake ilk. The result? A perfectly competent and pleasant album, featuring some true as true pop songs such as 'Lady Luck' and 'Street'. And the sound? Well the sound actually fills your bedroom, your ears probably if you're playing it through your mp3.

This is not the case when stood in the Shepherd's Bush O2. If truth be told, the show comes off not unlike an awkward, overly prepared open-mic night performance. Woon's voice is certainly impressive: his vocal range is wide and he hits every note perfectly, but a good voice does not always constitute a good show. The overall music is sort of swallowed up by the space, it all ends up sounding a bit a capella.

I can't tell if it's just me, or if the sound really does pick up for Charles & Eddie. It seems as though everything is clear, as though all those onstage are giving their task that extra something. It's a big song shoe to fill, so I guess a half-arsed attempt wouldn't really cut it. It's a shame none of Woon's own songs garner the same importance, give off the same energy. And that's the overall feeling: it's a shame. His music is likeable, but maybe his breaking cover has broken his sound. What will happen to it if he has to play the Roundhouse? It makes one reticent to bother seeing him again. Had he planned for his music to be heard by this many people? If he had, he might need to work on it actually reaching them a little more for fear of losing their attention. One can only strain for so long.

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