James Blake

Photos and Review by Jennie Book

James Blake came to the Masonic stage in San Francisco on October 16, 2023 ready to share his music with a ready and willing crowd. He and his two bandmates, drummer Ben Assiter, and guitarist/keyboardist Rob McAndrews (who was also the night’s opener, performing as Airhead), set up shop in simple formation and then proceeded to run through tracks of every genre and album Blake has ever made in a 22-song set.

James Blake is a subdued and personable Englishman with a lot to say about love. Favorites “Limit To Your Love,” “Voyeur,” and “Modern Soul,” gave the crowd an immersive and spiritual experience of bangers and ballads, and kept fans on their toes through the night. There was “Retrograde,” and “Godspeed,” and James Blake smiling at the crowd and chatting a little bit as he gifted San Francisco with this Playing Robots Into Heaven tour. There was a packed house both upstairs and downstairs with people dancing on their feet and in their seats.

What could have been a very still occasion was instead really dynamic given the inventiveness and textured complexity of Blake’s music, and his gorgeous voice (again I’ll cite “Limit To Your Love”) was the beautiful bow on an already beautifully wrapped package. The night was a gift to San Francisco.

For up to date James Blake information and merch go to jamesblakemusic.com.