When my Song Kick App alerted me to to the forthcoming Jacob Collier gig at the Oslo in Hackney, I thought that there would be no chance for me to secure a ticket. This talented multi instrumentalist has been blowing audiences away with his recent one-man shows, but the Oslo was a chance to for him to play with additional musicians, George McCurdy on drums, Robin Mullarkey on bass and guitar and Pedro Martins on guitar. The show was indeed sold out and a packed crowd were clearly fans of the young prodigy- there was a respectful silence during the songs, coupled with an excellent sound system that allowed Collier and the band to fully exploit the dynamics of the selected pieces. Apart from his own compositions, there were also some stunning covers that were interpreted with the layered harmonies that have become a hallmark of Collier's recorded work and that he is able to replicate live. The Beatles' "Blackbird" was extended to include some lovely call-and-response interaction with this loyal audience who joined in with the vocal "challenges that Collier set them.
I first came across Jacob Collier on youtube and was astonished by his rendition of Stevie Wonder's "Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing". Jason Rebello collaborated with him on his "Anything But Look" album and Collier featured in several of the live shows that I went to at that time (including the album launch at the Vibe Bar, where I took the pictures that were transformed into one of my earlier stencil based artworks); the Ronnie Scotts gigs were particularly memorable, and it was clear then that Jacob Collier was going to be a very special musician indeed.
Under the stewardship of Quincy Jones, Collier is going from strength to strength with more live shows to come in April and May in Australia in Singapore to come. There are no signs of any more UK appearances at the moment, which makes the experience of seeing him live in an intimate setting all the more special.