A decidedly woozy and weak-kneed witching hour was to be had compared to other nights at King Tut’s. Muddy-coloured beanies, lopping corduroy shirts, and soft, pasty vocals all came together in a show of a jazz-shaded, well-oiled coin – on the head(line) side was Nick Hakim while Jamie Isaac ensured it was a tail(or) made line-up.
As the crowd begins falling into a covey around the front, Jamie cushions their impact against the snare which would last well throughout proceedings, with a swaddling piano as the four-piece ‘Find the Words’ – words of lovelorn night buses, mumbling of dreams of love, dreams of touching her but holding back from stroking her. The opening track from 2016 combines influences of slick soulful exuberance and reverb-drenched electronica as a seemingly beady, bereft ballad is schlepped along the concrete to a less cushy place.
Unthinkable delves further into the nightscape as the crowd delves further into the blackboarded space. Escorted by Max Owens on the gear to an even more remote place, Isaac’s vocals roam further down the path of remorseful love while plucky synths retain a sense of rhythm in the room. Growing then sliding away, the tale of the tune mirrors Isaac’s stage persona which at once gesticulates spiritedly and then rimples whorl-like down into his beer bottle.
Last Drip is just irresistible as the bass to the right really comes alive with a throbbing, night-drubbing line. Even without the hooks of Rejjie Snow, Isaac is able to swoon and grip the night, melting sound and darkness with consummate ease.
Doing Better freshly waxed and entering within the full flow of this night-time journey and sees Isaac fully extend out into the twilight.
And thus, slips away one and enters another. Nick Hakim also possesses a deft touch. Like other artists such as Michael Sayer, Bane’s World, and on this side of the Pond Yellow Days, but perhaps exceptionally Hakim manages to find reckless yet serene vocal emotion within even the most chastened melodies.
The first track of the set Green Twins sees Hakim’s voice soar way above all instrumentation, scintillating on an almost Donny Hathaway level.
Cuffed and I Don’t Know are achingly draughty, gulping the night away, sashaying then at times disgorging around the room – by the finale seeping in and out of each and every other person’s ears.
Image Credit: NTS Radio