JACK GARRATT, Cargo – Evening Standard, 5 Dec 2014


Now that Ed Sheeran has been booked to play Wembley Stadium entirely alone next summer, the sky’s the limit for one-man bands. Newcomer Jack Garratt looked even busier than the big-selling troubadour halfway through his first headline tour. At one point he was triggering drum samples with a stick in his right hand, playing keyboards with his left and keeping a guitar round his neck in case of emergencies. All he needed was a pair of cymbals between his knees and a kazoo.

Popular for a while now among the mighty hipsters who generate blog buzz, and just back from playing large venues supporting Ben Howard, the London producer now has a major label record deal and the endorsement of Red Bull and Zane Lowe as a tip for 2015. Jessie Ware, his next support slot, was in the crowd, as was one of Mumford’s Sons. With a beard like a rabbi he fitted right in at this unwelcoming Shoreditch club, though when he spoke he turned out to be less cool, more funny and sweetly thrilled that he could sell out even this little space. “I still don’t understand why you’re here,” he said.

His brief set was as wide-ranging as his octopus arms would allow, taking in late night R&B on the slow-building The Love You’re Given and Jeff Buckley-style choirboy intensity on Surprise Yourself. The tasteful, moody electronica of James Blake and The xx are obvious comparisons, but there also seems to be a guitar god struggling to get out. He embarked on several widdly solos and occasionally that angelic voice became more of a roar. Next year he should settle into a sound and fill much bigger spaces.