The penultimate gig of his UK tour saw Isaac Gracie’s triumphant return to Brighton’s Haunt after a two year hiatus. The gig – bar the beige support act who were nothing to write home about, so I won’t – was bursting at the seams with lustre twined with the utmost professionalism, reflective of his hurried entry into the major music scene. It has been a mere two years since Gracie first uploaded a few bedroom recordings to SoundCloud, attracting an abundance of attention from both fans and industry alike. The songs, which were once meant to fall on few ears only, have since been solidified as firm hits, garnering truly deserved praise.
The maturity of Gracie’s music is most apparent: being snapped up by any major record label will do that to a musician. What it also does is devolve any rawness from the sound, something Gracie’s music certainly would have thrived from had his journey been as lengthy as other musicians. This is one man who was made to run far before he took the time to walk. But it is somewhat pedantic to draw any negative connotations to such scrupulousness.
The vicissitude of the performance was apparent, resonating between mediocre fillers that seemed to drone along, failing to elicit much excitement, towards hits that had The Haunt’s crowd entirely buzzing – thankfully, during the duller moments, he managed to regain the crowds admiration with his endearing humility. Gracie is an erudite lyricist, and does not shy away from the psychological exploration of his personal relationships, anxieties, and heartbreaks. It is refreshing to hear an artist write songs surrounding subjects so butchered, and so infamously exhausted, so incredibly well. Complicated, raw, and contemplative, one of Gracie’s greatest merits is his astounding lyricism. His tonality of his voice vacillates freely, and the choral past of his youth at times momentarily conquered and completed his set.
Highlights of the show were the Leonard Cohen-esque ‘The Death of You And I’ and his encore ‘Last Words’, which is deservedly reminiscent of Nick Drake. The latter touched the hearts of the audience, uniting all and evoking a mass sing along.
Review by Thomas Charles.
Images by James Daly Photography