Review: Jack Garratt delivers a “fire” show in Toronto

(By: Angela McLean)

Jack Garratt truly is a jack of all trades. The talented British singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist proved this at his recent Toronto show, held at The Phoenix Concert Theatre on Oct. 15. He commanded the stage, jumping between playing the guitar, keyboard, electronic drum pads and, of course, showing off his powerful voice, all sans a backup band.

Jack Garratt

Garratt is currently touring the U.S. and Canada in support of his debut album, ‘Phase,’ which came out earlier this year amid hype of his big BBC Sound of 2016 and Brits Critics’ Choice award wins. Both awards are likely indicators of success, having previously been won by fellow Brits Adele, Ellie Goulding and Sam Smith. (No pressure.) Garratt was no exception to the pattern – ‘Phase’ peaked at number three on the U.K. album charts and its single “Surprise Yourself” hit number one. Garratt’s unique sound, which combines elements of pop, electronica and soul, was met with praise from critics and fans alike.

The fans played a big role in Garratt’s Toronto set. Their passionate sing-alongs were enough to stop Garratt in his tracks, as he repeatedly exclaimed “Wow!” and let the crowd take over parts of the songs. He had fun with them mid-set and teased multiple covers before settling on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song and a perfect mash-up of Craig David’s “7 Days” and Justin Timberlake’s “Señorita.”

The show’s setlist covered the majority of ‘Phase,’ including fan favourites “Breathe Life” and “The Love You’re Given,” and Garratt gave each song his all. The performances were elevated with moody lighting that fell in tune with the rhythm. During “Fire,” bright white-and-red lights flashed like bursts of fire.

Garratt left the stage after “Fire,” leaving his fans wanting more. They chanted, “Jack! Jack! Jack! Jack!”

“I want you to know that every time you do that … that’s not for me. That’s everything that my music f—ing stands for … and the moment I’m proud to be f—ing in,” he responded.

As he performed his last three songs, including his hit single “Worry,” that message clung to the walls of the room. There was a definite sense of union between every stranger in the crowd and it was nearly impossible not to smile.

In addition to Garratt, supporting act Brasstracks put on a fantastic set. The Brooklyn-based duo, Ivan Jackson and Conor Rayne, is known for putting an unbeatable twist on standard electronic music with live trumpets and drums. The resulting sound is funky and groovy – a sound that the guys have dubbed “future brass.” They played songs off their EP ‘Good Life,’ like “Say U Won’t,” and “No Problem,” a song they produced for Chance the Rapper, 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne. The night was super special for Jackson, who was celebrating his 25th birthday and told the crowd that this was, by far, the best birthday he’d ever had.

Jack Garratt and Brasstracks are on the road until October 21. For a full list of upcoming shows, visit Jack’s website.

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