Feeling more confident about the style of Jamie Isaac’s music and what his four-piece band would be playing, I am surprised by the simple set up, of only having himself on piano, a bass player, a drummer and a bearded man in charge of samples and loops.
Playing a for half an hour Isaac’s set is riddled with minor technical issues, not being able to hear his voice and the sound samples not really seeming to work.
However, performing mostly from his Couch Baby album the stand out song is ‘Doing Better’, a new track where the band finally integrates with each other.
A blue light swamps the stage and Nick Hakim makes his appearance and begins his set all alone, drawing in the audience with his quiet, rasped voice and echoed guitar.
Slowly one by one each member follows his path, the bass player in silence drapes his instrument and plucks feverishly along with Hakim, the drummer, lead guitarist and keyboard player take their positions and for the better part of an hour and a half the audience is treated to what is probably one of the most well orchestrated sets I have seen in a long time.
Hakim has not visited this part of the world for the best parts of four years, claiming DC as his hometown and with releasing his debut album Green Twins last year, the first bit of recorded music to come from him in three years.
It seems he is determined to get his creative and inventive talents noticed with a string of dates that span across both Western plains, but for tonight his band is strong and their is a feeling that these four musicians have been touring with this music long enough now that they can have fun with it.
Unlike many musicians Hakim also has the very rare talent of being able to integrate himself with the audience, breaking the space between band and adoring fans which makes it feel like you are being treated to a special set, almost as if he is inviting himself to perform a set inside your living room.
With the comfort and knowledge that he has more than an hours worth of material to play around with before the curfew is put into affect he gives himself and the band a break, well nearly almost everyone in the band.
Leaving the keyboard player on stage he breaks into a five minute solo where he builds his own song and treats us all to his many technical gadgets and pitch shifting talents, the audience gives back with gracious applause and the rest of the band return to the stage.
Drawing to a near close the heckles begin as favourite songs haven’t been played, most notably one man crying for ‘I Don’t Know’ to be performed and in due course his heckles are answered.
Nick Hakim, the man is very weird with his music and askew with his approach to writing, but is insanely humbled by the fact that so many people love what he does and it is very humbling to experience this very beautiful set.
Words: Craig Carrington-Porter
Photos: Erin McKay