Making his debut at the Bierkeller, it would be easy to think that after over 4 years away from performing in Bristol Jamie Woon would be apprehensive. Yet starting with ‘Movement’ we have the backing singers busting the synchronised moves and a tentative build up to Woons return.
Amongst swirling purple mist he marches confidently back onto the stage, greets the crowd, and harmonises with the slinky charm apt for the jarring synth line . Fan favourite ‘Night Air’ follows second - a sinister R&B groove that steals the show with its sultry melodies and soaring vocals.
‘Dedication’ follows as a stunted dreamy number that soon centres on Woons whimsical vocal crafted around a whirlwind of instruments crashing against his saccharine voice. Any other male solo artist, it would be very easy to be drowned out, but Woons sheer talent makes him stand out. Woon exerts such confidence onstage that it makes his live material possibly more powerful than his sound on record.
Gently plucked guitar compliments the reflective ‘Little Wonder’ backed by mellow sonic atmospherics, it’s a track which through being restrictively minimalist feels emotionally epic in its climax.
‘Skin’ is a melancholic slow burner that widens Woons opportunity to stretch those elastic vocal chords more. Performance wise every song fits so easily in Woons palette that you could easily blend some songs together. However, the layered sounds make for an intriguing prospect live, and Woon is able to tackle each track with a renewed energy rather than letting the standard slump towards the end.
His cover of Aaliyah’s ‘Try Again’ is a blissfully different more acoustic take on the bubbly hit, but the curveball payed off. He seems mildly surprised and bemused by the rapturous reception the cover received but grins ear to ear muttering “Thank you” and launches straight onto the next one.
And we were not left disappointed, ‘Message’ serves as an irresistible soul stomper that hooks you in with futuristic funk and otherworldly underwater bleeps.
And the joyous ‘Celebration’ unleashed what must have been the most rock and roll keyboard solo of the night, lasting nearly a minute long. For the finale we have the lead off of Woons latest album ‘Making Time’ - ‘Sharpness’ glides into a league of its own with its shaky yet sleek pangs of bass backing Woons croons of “never felt like this before”.
But wait we still have TWO more songs to go. Woon is left to his own devices by the band and tells us “I’ve been looking forward to playing this one” - ‘Shoulda’ is the first song I’ve heard people in the audience shush a crowd for - and people ACTUALLY stayed silent. Something which is quite rare to find at any gig. Bar one man who shouted “Brrrrrappppp!” midway to unimpressed glares from many, and a shared ironic chuckle. If you thought that was the most unifying moment of the night ‘Lady Luck’ finished off with danceable decorum. If you thought that Jamie Woon was lost in the hype of 2011 you will find yourself woefully wrong. The modern soul siren is back.
Check out ‘Lady Luck’ right here: