Baby’s All Right has been the host of many great shows lately, and the combination of Letts and Jack Garratt on the lineup was certainly another reason to take another trip on the J train to the venue. Just as the sun was setting I stepped foot inside and noted that no one was on line, yet the show had completely sold out. A typical NY crowd tends to show up minutes before showtime. As Christian Letts took the stage, the floor immediately filled in, all the way to the edge of the stage, with many anticipating selections from his debut EP, Hold Fast to be played.
While listening to the EP, you could hear the definite influence of Marcus Mumford, who was tapped to produce, but live, the songs transformed themselves into world worn stories of love, regret and pain. Lap steel and trumpet lent extra emotion to songs like “Emeralds,” and quieter songs like “Charles De Gaulle,” which he wrote for his wife, were quite beautiful and inspiring. Christian had a way of delivering the lyrics where he’d sometimes speak-sing them, very reminiscent of The Tallest Man on Earth, but with a tone so soothing you’d think he was singing directly into your ear. Sadly, his set was over far too soon, but I enjoyed what I heard and I’m looking forward to his return to NY.
Now if you could imagine, the previously packed room got even more packed, with people squeezing into any open spot they could find. When Jack Garratt took the stage in one of the fullest, yet impeccably groomed beards and a top-knot of any hipster’s dreams, I didn’t know what to expect. He looked like any average guy that should be strolling around just outside the doors. Then he opened his mouth, and out came the most soulful sound, layered with an English accent and dripping with confidence. He has a gorgeous falsetto, as he proved on “I Couldn’t Want You Anyway,” and remains in full control of it while he sings. While I initially likened him to James Blake, Jack proved to be a far more dynamic performer, effortlessly tapping beats out on a drum pad, tickling his keyboard, and shredding on his guitar; an admitted admirer of Stevie Ray Vaughan. He’s got a great ear for music too. The songs usually open up into some kind of throbbing bassline that got my head nodding on more than one occasion. Despite a few technical difficulties, the performance was flawless. There was even a hilarious section where he impersonated Michael McDonald and Michael Jackson. He owned the typical British sense of humor that I love – very dry and a bit deadpan, and he was so humble and endearing, while retelling how his father supported his dream early on, while his parents watched from the back of the room, I’m sure everyone fell in love with him at that very moment. I’m also pretty sure I heard both men and women yelling out “I love you!” at various points during the night.
Hot off his SXSW performances down in Austin just a few days prior, Jack had ample amounts of energy to spare even when the show was slated to end. As a fairly new artist, he had simply run out of material, but he stuck around to talk, hug, and hang with just about anyone who came up to him. As a new fan, I’d like to say: Jack, please record more material so your show can go on and on. I wasn’t ready to leave, and I’m sure when you visit NY again in May I won’t be then either.
Article by: Lesley Keller