Soul singer Jamie Lidell arrives in London tomorrow night on the penultimate date of an extensive world tour. At face value Lidell is merely a brilliant funk and soul musician, channelling the ghosts of Motown with effortless zeal; his latest LP ‘Compass’ follows in a similar trend to previous albums in showcasing his impressive vocal repertoire within a nest of accomplished seventies-style grooves.
You would be forgiven for thinking that this was the sum of his talents. But the British-born singer’s recordings belie the extraordinary show he puts on in front of a live crowd. The fact that he is signed to electronica heroes Warp Records should be a clue: Lidell devotes a large portion of his gigs performing a capella, alone with just his towering voice - and some sampling technical wizardry.
It’s an experience that can really only be witnessed firsthand (or, as a taster, in the video). Armed with just a sampling sequencer Lidell creates a tremendous body of sound, harnessing adept beatbox rhythms as percussion and looping layer after layer of sampled melodies. There are plenty of beatboxers who sample themselves in such a way but few can claim the solid all-round musicianship that Lidell boasts.
Accompanied by his four-piece band, the singer will be filling the grand acoustics of Camden’s Koko tomorrow evening with his funky licks and innovative beats, and tickets are still available at time of writing. It’s rare that an artist promises something so different and interesting when performing live; this is a treat not to be missed.
By John Nugent