PHOTOS + WORDS BY AYSIA MAROTTA
JACK GARRATT – BABY’S ALL RIGHT
If you haven’t heard about Jack Garratt -- That’s G-a-double r-a-double t (as he states on his Twitter account) – well, get ready to hear his name a lot more. Last night, Jack played his first sold out show in the US, at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn, New York.
While I’ve been listening to his SoundCloud account for what seems like years (realistically only six months -- I can sometimes be dramatic), I didn’t know what to expect out of Jack’s live show. So, when I saw the crew clearing the stage of the opening act’s equipment and then bring on two guitars, a keyboard, a drum pad, and some huge amplifiers, I knew the ginger-bearded Brit had quite the evening in store for us.
When hearing Garratt’s music, you get a strong R&B vibe – which is fantastic. I’m a sucker for a slow jam. However, when you see Jack play live, you get a taste of a musical rainbow – ranging from James Blake to Garratt’s idol Stevie Ray Vaughan. I didn’t know I could live in a world where a James Blake/SRV hybrid could exist, but damn, am I happy that I do.
Even despite the minor technical difficulties with his set, Garratt made the most of it. His interacting with the audience was natural, sincere and actually quite hilarious – at one point doing an insane Michael McDonald impression, which then transformed into a Michael Jackson impression. To help the time pass while the crew sorted out the sound situation, Jack also touched on a cover he had recently done of Mario’s ‘You Should Let Me Love You’ for BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge during his time at SXSW 2015.
As his set continued, the audience got to witness just how much of a powerhouse Jack is when he’s in his element. Firstly, his voice. There’s nothing like it. It’s simultaneously powerful and soft, and his falsetto will give you goosebumps. The beats? Don’t even get me started. It took me everything in my power not to drop my camera and break it down for the room. He is a master multi-tasker, as he slams a drumstick on his electric pad, all whilst maneuvering pedals with his feet, and playing chords on his keyboard. He’s a one-man spectacle, and I haven’t even mentioned his guitar playing capabilities yet. He plays as if he came out of the womb with a Stratocaster in hand, and his channeling of Stevie Ray Vaughan within his performance would have done the guitar legend proud.
At the end of his set, you walk away loving Jack Garratt even more. Not just because he’s one of the most multi-talented musicians to have emerged in years, but also because he’s a humble, stand up guy. Throughout his set, he conveyed such a sense of gratefulness and love towards his first sold out crowd, and towards his parents and brother who flew to New York just for the occasion. It was Jack putting a girl on the guest list to his show months ago, and remembering her last night, wishing her ‘Happy Birthday’ on stage and having a heartfelt conversation with her in front of the crowd, that made me respect him as a person, not just a musician. He also recounted to the crowd how his father, who was standing in the back at the bar with the rest of his family, bought him his first PA system when he was 13 years old, and would drive him around to local pubs where he’d play for crowds that didn’t really want to hear him. It’s stories like that, emotional connections with artists like Jack that ignite flames in us – and make us feel as if our dreams, with a lot of hard work, could also come true.
Garratt is on his way to becoming a major name in the music industry, having just released his second EP, “Syntesthesiac”, and if it doesn’t work out for him (which is highly unlikely) at least he’ll always have a career fronting a Michael McDonald (or Jackson) cover band.