Review: James Gillespie at The Lexington

James Gillespie impressed in the dark upstairs of The Lexington as he played to the 300 sell-out crowd.

James Gillespie live
James Gillespie playing live at The Lexington, 13 March 2018

Rating: 4/5

Small music venues may be on the decline throughout the UK, but on Tuesday night James Gillespie proved why they are still so valuable.

A quaint pub off Pentonville Road, The Lexington, has an upstairs geared solely for live music.

James put on an intimate gig in a sold-out venue of 300 people. The atmosphere was electric and filled with excitement before he began his one-hour set, and this is something you wouldn’t have felt if it had been 300 of us in a 5,000 capacity O2 Academy.

If you had heard that James had released only two songs so far you may have laughed off the idea of seeing him.

But both songs have garnered over 8 and 11 million streams on Spotify, and James has supported Pink on tour, so you may already have missed the chance to see this man before he hits the big time.

Opening his set with some original, unreleased material, James eased us into his music with his solo guitar and rustic vocals.

His sounds are similar to James Blake and he has a voice akin to that of James Arthur. Many of his songs are slow and emotional, but they can involve a heavy bass that he claims was inspired by Frank Ocean.

As the set progressed he tugged the fans’ heartstrings with songs about his baby daughter and feeling unprepared to support her, as well as the seductions and darkness that have come with the Scotland-raised singer moving to London.

A man with great stage presence, and perhaps slightly inebriated, James filled gaps between songs with anecdotes and jokes, usually explaining the songs or joking about how much he’s had to drink.

He treated us to a preview of the third song he will release, ‘Dead in the Water’, due out in a few weeks.

‘This is my greatest song yet, I love to play it. Most artists say they’re latest song is their best, but this genuinely is. I’ve made new songs since and still prefer this one,’ he joked.

Finishing up he went on to perform his two hits, ‘What You Do’ and a cover of Pink’s ‘Don’t Let Me Get Me’, which earned him both her praise and an opportunity to support her on tour, kick-starting his career.

‘Now’s the point where I say I’m finished and you all chant for one more song, but I have had far too much rum by now and would probably just make a fool of myself.’

James Gillespie has the talent to go all the way, and an already huge and growing fan base. The possibilities for this man are endless.

Keep up to date with James Gillespie at http://www.jamesgillespiemusic.com for future events and releases.