James Blake at the Palladium in Los Angeles

Within the foggy threshold of the Palladium, I instantly smell a cloud of axe body spray. The scent of the notorious fuck-boy set the tone for a James Blake show at the Palladium on March 16.


James Blake, a singer-songwriter originally from England, has made a name for himself in the US. His dreamy concoction of synth and soul is the perfect melody to listen to on a rainy day. He has collaborated with everyone, from Frank Ocean to Travis Scott and Moses Sumney, which is only telling of his aptitude for music, something he seems to be overtly aware.


The first man to take the stage was a mere snake charmer who quietly controlled the audience with his hushed music. A mostly-white crowd did not react well to him, seeing as how his entertainment style was rather relaxed. Eventually, we, as a crowd, got through the performance with the expectation to be wowed by the man who binds together R&B and techno.

Blake took the stage rather lazily and began to play. Throughout the show the artistry was apparent, but it was lost in the sea of sticky floors, wax pen smoke, and frat boy ignorance. An A+ effort was cumbersome due to the bashful attempt at putting on an emotive experience for the audience. I couldn’t help but want to nod off to sleep. The subdued crowd (me included) failed to make the deafening noises we associate with fantastic concerts but rather stood and swayed as Blake played music he admitted he had written to lull his girlfriend to sleep.


As egotistical narcissists populated the audience, we mistake a man with a synth for a god who pretends he’s higher than the average joe. Exemplified by his lyrics, he condemns the same behavior he is responsible for. Blake’s music reverberates better in my headphones than at the Palladium. Maybe it was the congregation. Maybe it was his fear to commit to the show due to illness that plagued him at previous shows, or maybe it was my high expectations. Either way, the let down from this show has swayed me away from the opportunity to see him again. How unfortunate.

Sam Klainberg is a junior at Pratt Institute who spends her time making playlists and looking at art. Her love for music stemmed from her father and the diversity of his record collection.

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