Published Apr 03, 2013Jamie Lidell may be spending most of his time in the U.S. these days, but the electro-soul singer still has all of his English eccentricities. His banter was oddly conversational, almost stream-of-consciousness throughout his set. Early on, after polling the crowd to find what Vancouver was the home of, Lidell dedicated "Your Sweet Boom" from 2010's Compass to marijuana, but his dedications moved in a weirder direction from there. He dedicated "You Naked" from his recent self-titled album to the unnecessary European pluralizing of "sheeps," that if corrected would bring some ugliness into the world, and later did an homage to Lil Wayne and the joy of mental, random emails before dedicating "What A Shame" to Weezy.
At one point, Lidell came out from behind his laptop and mixer set-up, and went on a rant about the year 2004. This was the year before his career-changing Multiply record was released, in which Matthew Herbert telephoned him and called him "Jim," which became the name of his 2008 album. This banter led to an interesting moment as Lidell admitted that he was stalling for time as he tried to remember how "Music Will Not Last" went. A bit of organized clapping from the crowd helped him to get there, with Lidell starting off a cappella up front before moving back to his command center and adding modulated vocal loops to the procession. Yet, for the most part, Lidell's sound seemed to be rather contained. Bringing the funk solo this evening, wearing the garish white duster as seen in his "You Naked" video, he would tweak and trigger the odd sound here and there, if not construct a beat, but for many tracks, it appeared as though he mostly pushed play and walked away singing.
Granted, even singing, Lidell employed tricks like singing into two mics for a chorus effect, one of which he would also use for beatbox loops, so it's not like he was Deadmau5ing around. He was working. It just felt as though most of his set came off a little too clean and polished, perhaps lacking more live musicianship. The most musically satisfying part of his set was when he took a few minutes to improvise and glitch a beatbox freestyle. It would have been nice to see a little bit more risk like that, something to make the music as engaging as his personality.