July 7 at Roskilde Festival, Orange Stage
Entering the stage as if dressed for a day at the office, a pasty James Blake and his fellow operators took their places behind their respective instruments. Taking up just a small portion of the enormous Orange Stage, the set-up only added to the confusion as to why James Blake hadn’t taken a more ideal late night slot on a more intimate stage.
Trying not to let the intense sun spoil his debut on Roskilde’s prestigious stage, Blake chimed “We’re going to pretend it’s night time” after he himself realised that he would have to take a leap of imagination to cope with the glare reflecting from the keyboard keys ? perhaps due to the fact that sunglasses may have smeared his image of sincerity.
Doing everything to conceal his confusion at performing some of the most sought after deep house music on the world stage to a scantily clad audience who’d only just finished their breakfast under a blistering sun, he opened with the slow?evolving ‘I Never Learned to Share’ to mass applause.
Perched between black skyscrapers of speakers blasting out punchy Godzilla?bass that was much more pronounced than in his studio recordings, Blake turned the volume up to eleven, doing everything in his power to put on a good display. Delivering a variety of hits from both his seminal self?titled debut album and the recently-released Overgrown, Blake and his backing musicians worked their equipment into the ground playing souped?up versions of the house anthem ‘CMYK’ and ‘Limit to your Love’, making it tough for volunteers handing out water to keep up.
As perspiration began to drop from his brow and the population of the pit began to diminish as the sun became too great to brave it out for the full hour, it became crystal clear just how great a midnight act Roskilde had just cost itself.