James Vincent McMorrow – Colston Hall Bristol 12/10/16

With his almost impossibly high-pitched wispy tones, singer song writer James Vincent McMorrow offers something different in this current climate of nostalgic dance re-boots. His voice is a delight to relax to and his first two albums have been met with critical acclaim.

On his recently released third album McMorrow is definitely picking up the pace. With a fairly extensive touring schedule and appearances on shows like Later with Jools Holland, the singer songwriter is evidently looking to expand his fan base. And why not?

McMorrow has also been open and frank about his perceived changing music and image. He describes it as a journey that he has taken and a growth within himself. He mentions his previous self as a shy and anxious character. Against the sedate backdrop of Bristol’s Colston Hall we witnessed a performer growing in confidence - halfway through the UK leg of his ‘We Love’ tour.

Strolling onto the stage to Roy Ayers' 'everybody loves the sunshine'. The crowd are barely finished clapping when ‘Red Dust’ starts off the evening. This is followed by ‘I lie awake every night’ from his new We Love album. The mood seemingly already set for the night.

30 minutes into proceedings and the band exit the stage to leave McMorrow to perform a few solo routines. It’s the first time the singer interacts with crowd and he does so in the heartfelt and coy manner that they have become accustomed to. His much loved cover of ‘Higher Love’ was always set to be a highlight, and it didn't disappoint.

When the band return, tracks like latest single ‘rising water’ receive noticeable joyous applause from the crowd. Considering this is his latest single it shows the depth in strength of his work and his ability to keep moving forward with his sound.

McMorrow is not just a crooner with a guitar. He delves into different electronic soundscapes, shifting from 80's tinged keys to funked up anthems. Sure, he can croon, in fact he can wail, with painful sincerity. Most words are sung with eyelids closed and mouth stretched wide.

He sidesteps any tired parlour tricks and despite not being a natural showman, this is all just part of the charm. He offers a far more thoughtful experience. His words cut through the crowd and send shivering vibrations into the autumn eve.

McMorrow notes during the performance that he is in reflective mood and you can almost hear his cogs turning. He knows that his stock is rising, but is no hurry, and is absolutely ensuring that the journey is enjoyed. A journey we're very much enjoying too.



By Tom Whitehead



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