2/26/16 – The Sinclair

When I think of a one-man band, I think of this guy:

Creepy One-Man Band Guy

Creepy One-Man Band Guy

Thank you, Jack Garratt, for erasing this doofus from my mind.

On Friday night, British multi-instrumentalist and one-man band, Jack Garratt, played to a sold-out Sinclair crowd. He performed songs from his debut album, Phase, which he released February 19.

It’s difficult to categorize Garratt; his music is rooted in gospel and blues and packaged in electronic-pop. He can reach operatic falsettos and then growl like a grizzly. He can play any combination of keyboard, electric guitar, and drum pad simultaneously. He can express his genuine disbelief at playing to a packed house, and then offer lines like, “I’m jetlagged as fuck.”

But despite his eccentricities, or perhaps because of them, Garratt is a gripping performer. Throughout his set, Garratt manned his station like a line cook preparing for a busy night in the restaurant, bouncing between his instruments, twirling his drum stick like a hibachi spatula, and dodging back to the microphone to catch the next lyric.

“Why didn’t I get a band like a normal person?” Garratt said.

It was the pop-leaning tracks like “Breathe Life,” “Weathered,” and “Fire,” fans had come to hear, evidenced by the uptick in hand waving and head nodding. On “Surprise Yourself,” Garratt forewent his drums and piano, gently playing his guitar and delivering a Jeff Buckley-like ballad.

To no fault of his own, bros in the crowd had to be heard, trampling over the most delicate sections by professing their love in sincere and wholeheartedly inebriated cries. “You’re doing great!” one yelled.

Garratt handled these moments in good humor, joking after the song was over that he could hear some people in the crowd especially well. But although he deflected these distractions, Garratt filled the space between songs with slightly too much talking, which halted the momentum of his set. There were few times when he would transition from one song to the next, instead opting to comment on his arrival in America or incite a cheer from the crowd by asking how we were doing.

We were always doing well.

Still, throughout the night Garratt proved to be a consumate entertainer: humble yet confident, energetic yet dynamic.

For the critics who have opined Garratt’s unoriginality or sentimentality, I would encourage them to see him live, where his grittiness and subtleties coalesce to power a lone star in the making. Sure, his vocals may remind you of James Bay, and his intricate electronic beats of Disclosure, but is that all that bad? I could think of worse comparisons.

If you want to see Jack Garratt next time he’s in Boston, catch him at Royale on June 15.

Best Bearded Falsetto: Jack Garratt
  • Plays 3 instruments and sings simultaneously
  • Operatic falsettos
  • Too much time between songs
  • No encore
8.5You're doing great

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