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James Blake brought raw beauty to the Eventim Apollo last night

18 April 2019, 10:14 | Written by Thomas Harvey

As his latest tour draws to a close, James Blake played the first of two sold-out shows at the Eventim Apollo last night. Across his 16-song setlist, he treated his audience to music from his first four LPs, as well as new material.

Set to a spectacular light show, he began his set with the eponymous opener from his most recent album, Assume Form. Spotlights created luminous canvasses that swelled like the synth lines arpeggiating around the space as Blake performed "Life Round Here", a track from 2017's Overgrown. His minimalist supporting band included a drummer and a multi-instrumentalist who played electric guitar as well as the intricate box of lights known as a modular synthesiser - one of the lynchpins of Blake's sound.

"Timeless", from The Colour In Anything, saw the band blending into dark red lights as the bass shook through the audience. 'It’s good to be here, this time it feels different', he finally spoke out, before he segued into another track from the new record, "Mile High" where the lighting rapidly fluctuated with the rhythm and percussion.

Simple piano tracks, like Blake's seminal "Limit To Your Love", rang out true with an honest beauty that left the crowd in awe. For 'Are You In Love?', a standout track from Assume Form, Blake wandered to the front of the stage as he crooned 'unless you can calm my mind from me / this could easily slide from me'.

After debuting the as-yet unreleased new track "Loathe To Roam", in which Blake blends a hard-edged motorik with his signature ethereality, we were gifted with an instrumental interlude of noise and meshed synthesisers which came to rest on a crowd-pleasing "Retrograde".

The heartbreaking "Don’t Miss It" featured a noticeable change of the lyric, and “the 405” became the M25 as the singer moved into a looped version of "Lullaby For My Insomniac" to ease the crowd gently towards the show's emotional conclusion.


1. Assume Form

2. Life around Here

3. Timeless

4. I’ll Come Too

5. Barefoot In The Park

6. Limit To Your Love

7. Love Me In Whatever Way

8. Love The Way We Flow

9. Are You In Love?

10. Loathe To Roam

11. Where’s The Catch?

12. Voyeur

13. Retrograde

14. A Case Of You

15. Don’t Miss It

16. Lullaby For My Insomniac

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