Prior to tonight’s headliner, we were required to endure the glitchy, thumpy house styles of Techgnosis and some DJ chap whose name I don’t remember (apologies for this poor standard of journalism!). Both acts started off quite interestingly, but it all rapidly descended into a dirge of beats and bleeps. The only memorable thing about either performance was the sight of one half of the duo Techgnosis looking inordinately excited with pressing buttons on his laptop and mixer. I only wish I could share his enthusiasm.
Thankfully, the tedium of the support acts became a long-forgotten memory once Jamie Lidell hit the stage. Boasting a strong charisma and charm, he exuded a confidence that was fully justified. Beginning his set with “Game For Fools”, he immediately dazzled the gathered throng with his powerful and soulful voice. Straight afterward, he went into an extended rendition of “The City”. Here he built layer after layer of beatboxing and voice, creating an improvised version of the song barely recognizable from the album version. Absolutely brilliant. It’s truly amazing how Lidell manages to be so engaging when all he has is his voice and a bank of synthesizers and samplers at his disposal. Perhaps it would be slightly churlish to suggest that Lidell’s performance tonight wasn’t quite as inspired as his show at the Commodore Ballroom back in July, but it is true. Nevertheless, even when he’s not on top form, he still gives a very entertaining display of a precocious talent that was sure to leave a lasting impressions on this appreciative Seattle crowd.