Published Jun 29, 2015To understand the sheer joy and relief that came from the mere sight of Jamie Smith taking the booth as the penultimate act of the first-ever Art - Innovation - Movement (AIM) Festival at Carillon Park, keep in mind that for a seemingly interminable two hours or so prior to his appearance, there was a pervasive uneasiness setting in among the remaining AIM faithful that he wouldn't show. Not because he wasn't there, but because unceasing rains threatened to wash out the festival's most hyped act.
But Smith did show — about two hours after his advertised 2 p.m. start time — and for the hundred or so people who braved hours upon hours of inclement weather and frigid temperatures, the producer and xx member figuratively parted the clouds for the first 45 minutes of his set by doing his best Fabriclive semi-obscure funk and disco comp impression. For fans of his original work, he mixed "Sleep Sound" and "I'll Take Care Of You" from his collaborative effort with Gil Scott-Heron into his set. The people did not get soaked in vain.
The energy began to flag when he switched over from individual songs to long-form beats. Before his two hours were up, Smith returned to disco selections, including an extended outro of "And The Beat Goes On" by the Whispers. He also combined his own "Loud Places" featuring xx bandmate Romy Madley-Croft with the song he sampled on it, Idris Muhammad's "Could Heaven Ever Be Like This."
A couple of favourites from his debut album In Colour, "Gosh" and "I Know There's Gonna Be (Good Times)," were omitted from his set.
What Jamie XX might have lacked in terms of an adventurous vinyl collection or a desire to play his own material, he made up for in being unafraid to bounce from song to song or vocal sample to vocal sample to keep the audience engaged.