Jacob Banks at Commodore Ballroom

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Jacob Banks is an incredible musician and you should go listen to him now. Full Stop. End of Story. Go! I wish that was all I needed to write in a review because that is really all that needs to be said. He is a phenomenal talent, who should have more exposure on this side of the pond.

From the very beginning of the night, the lights were down, and the blues came up. His opening song Just When I Thought was full of heavy dirty synth, which perfectly juxtaposed his silky smooth vocals. Banks has an incredible range that is nothing but power through his smooth low end all the way up to his crisp falsetto. With his second song Monster, you could feel the guttural punch of emotion that reverberates through his vocals. Throughout the night it was clear that emotion is simply one of his instruments. You can hear the heartbreak and the hope in each word.

The night was a beautiful journey through ballads, some dirty-sounding blues, and pop-inspired R&B.  All throughout the night his accompaniment was on point. Whether it was his pre-recorded tracks or his backing band, they were never distracted by over-embellishing.  This is vital because you need to keep Jacob’s voice front and centre. Even within his songs, there is movement and progression. A standout of the night was Aim for my Head. The song began as a quiet expression of the uncertainty of love being lost and yet transformed into an earth-shattering epic.  He finds these beautiful moments that can build and grow into something operatic, yet stem from a simple beautiful quiet.

These quiet moments are the ones that have stuck with me. In fact, a moment near the end of the set, he sang without the mic picking him up. There was a feeling that he doesn’t need us. That the music is for him and no one else, he simply allows us to partake. It’s a vulnerable space to be a musician and to be allowed into his heart and soul is a gift that we the listener must cherish.

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