After a hard days work, pouring sweat and blood in teaching the youth of today, the maths and English of tomorrow. I was looking forward to discovering the live sound of Isaac Gracie, who was that evening (29/03/2017) performing at the Sunflower Lounge in Birmingham.
I stumbled upon this artist only recently while listening through Apple music 'A-List Singer-Songwriters playlist' where the editors recommend new and current releases. The track 'Reverie' had caught my attention. A very special track with a very artistic feel. Reminding me of the likes of Jeff Buckley and Leonard Cohen instantly. Completely refreshing my ears from the thumping beats of todays market dominated chart releases.
Me being me, 'Having a very short attention span', tried to listen to a few of Isaac's old recordings online, but I struggled to connect with them. So I made up my mind to watch him play live instead. ((Always the better option!).
The promoters didn't release who was supporting Isaac that evening, so I was completely unaware of what might come. However, here I happened upon an unlikely gem called Bryony Williams. A music artist with the soul of a pro. At first glance, you would see a shy intorvert young girl. However, upon hearing her play the delicate delights of her electric guitar and delivery of tender, soft lead vocals. Bryony enabled herself to capture the hearts and minds of the crowd for tomorrow. She claimed at the start of her set, 'she would be imagining herself playing in her bedroom', a shy anecdote when taking the stage in support of Isaac Gracie. But that timidness only enhanced a humble and non invasive performance. Perfect for such an intimate venue.
By now the room of 40 had filled a little more to around 60 - (comfortable for standing) but full enough to fill the space. Isaac made his appearance for the back of the audience, heading straight for the stage. Using a clever ploy of looking at his phone while walking, ensuring he wasn't distracted by the audience and kept a fully focused mind towards the job at hand. His first song and nothing else.
Straight into the set after a quick polite greeting. Isaac was oozing confidence and hit a great start! A very bright sound, nice use of effects on the guitar and minimal ambience. allowing the vocal reverb to be implemented with ease and precision.
This confidence in his own abilities and sound had grown through each song and to note, my favourite song was 'Terrified'. Remember I have never heard his repertoire before.
Isaac's falsetto on Terrible was a beautiful wonder, very softly delivered to melodic degree with fantastic tonal features throughout. There was a great balance in the mix of guitar and vocal delivery enchanting the audience. Seriously a few times I looked around the room to see people mesmerised by his performance, as if witch craft was taking place.
Another of Isaac's USP was his ability and tight control of his vibrato, really leaving a mark on the listeners ears. I feel it's not overused and projected well, at appropriate times to really define his sound and package to the audience, as a engaging and passionate music artist.
My only critic of this performance was that he didn't play Reverie. I managed to catch up with Isaac at the end to thank him for such a great performance and had a quick chat.
He mentioned that playing Reverie was very much a choice of feeling. Since being 5 minutes and 43 seconds he wanted to ensure when playing it he was fully confident with its delivery and didn't want it meandering on. I could easily accept that. This was something I would very much like to see live, in how he was going to tackle this song as the recorded version contains a full band and production to contend with.
Persona of an Artist
To conclude Isaac is a pleasant young man of artistic persona, a natural entertainer in his own right and a true talent to follow for the years to come.
I recommend you get out to watch him when he is next in town.