Published Jun 16, 2010Jamie Lidell's career trajectory includes the sort of about-face that is rarely pulled off with any degree of success. We knew the guy could sing — the vocal contributions to his late '90s IDM outfit Super_Collider were always ear-catching — but his transition from electronica nerd to full-on (and remarkably convincing) white-boy soul singer (with 2005's solo debut Multiply) defied all expectations.
With 2008's Jim, Lidell served notice that Multiply's success was no fluke — lead track "Another Day" could pass as a lost Stevie Wonder single and the album stands as a songwriting coup. Now touring in support of his latest release, Compass, Lidell's Vancouver appearance showed that he also possesses a rare talent for pure performance, keeping a generationally diverse audience at rapt attention for the duration of the evening.
After a strong opening set by Boulder, CO DJ Alex B, who incorporated everything from synth squeals to J Dilla beats, Lidell took the stage with his three-piece band. The first half of the show had him on vocals, occasionally joining his group on auxiliary percussion for tracks like the standout "Telephone" from Compass. The second half of the show displayed his electronic prowess, as he sang and beatboxed into a looping device, creating a one-man backing band for his own singing.
This built up to a high with a stunning performance of "Another Day," wherein Lidell had the entire audience singing the chorus while he sang the bass line. The band rejoined him onstage, and they maintained the remarkable energy level for the balance of the show.
Lidell's reputation as a performer preceded him, so it should have been no surprise, but the last half of the show was among the best live music witnessed in Vancouver for quite some time.