Review: James Blake at Shed 10

Words by Keegan Fepulea’i


Rain set in as a somewhat excited hoard amassed to see the return of James Blake. Blake’s debut show at the Auckland Town Hall had been one for the ages. Off the back of a string of singles and THAT EP on the legendary record label R&S Records, he had come to conquer. And that he did.


How was Blake going to top not only a performance but a series of releases that defined an era? The answer is, and always will be, subtly. By no stretch of the imagination was he there to provide a dance floor driven performance, and why would he? His music emotive, performance captivating, & lighting considered. The space as a whole lent itself to a level of warmth hardly achievable in industrial spaces, whilst the steel beams that run from end to end of the venue made it feel somewhat futuristic.


At several points throughout the show, Blake probed the crowd as to why they were not more vocal and receptive in their appreciation of the support act Connan Mockasin, claiming, “He’s one of the greats,” and he’s right. Connan is one of the greats. As a city, we’re guilty of only ever turning up for the main act and often disregarding the local talent. We need to change this. Next time you go to a show, turn up early, hit the dance floor and give love. It is, after all, what you will get in return.