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Music News

Jose Gonzalez Review: Brighton Dome 21st September

Jose Gonzalez Review by Jake S
Let’s be honest - most of us discovered José González from Sony’s award-winning ‘Balls’ advert which had ‘Heartbeats’ playing in the background. For those of you cave dwellers who aren’t familiar with it, the advert showed thousands of multi-coloured balls bouncing down the beautiful streets of San Francisco. It was mesmeric. 
 
If you did know him, but not originally from that though, then congratulations - you’re indie as fuck. 
Anyway, we digress! On Friday the 21st, we were lucky enough to bag a couple of tickets to see José live at the Brighton Dome accompanied by The String Theory - an artist collective who formed an experimental orchestra. And when there’s an experimental orchestra involved, you know you’re in for a good evening. We were excited.
 
Jesca Hoop kicked off the evening with her uniquely haunting American voice. But, despite hailing from California, she was no stranger to a British crowd as she now lives in Manchester. 
At first, she seemed a little nervous, but she soon warmed up and truly came into her own when performing ‘Murder of Birds’. Her plucky, repetitive riffs complimented by her diverse voice had our attention from the get-go. One minute she was singing at a normal pitch, then the next thing we knew, she was nailing the highest notes we’ve heard live! For those of you that sing, you know just what an impressive feat that is. 
 
After her half-hour set though, we were soon ready for the pièce de résistance - José González himself.
 
Opening the proceedings with ‘Crosses’, our favourite song of his, we immediately knew we were in for a treat. The combination of José’s captivating guitar playing accompanied by the strings, percussionists and woodwind was aural heaven. 
 
Part of what we love so much about José’s music is that it’s so understated. Apart from his catchy,
intricate guitar playing, there’s nothing to hide behind. It’s just him and his voice - no bells and whistles. But, when he played fan favourites like ‘Cycling Trivialities’, ‘Down the Line’, Massive Attack’s ‘Teardrops’ and ‘Heartbeats’ with the added depth of The String Theory, we were blown away – it completely changed the songs for the better. And a lot of this is down to PC Nackt, the conductor and brains behind the arrangements of José’s songs. 
 
Of course, rarely is a concert perfect though, and José faced some trouble with his guitar. Trying to stall whilst the poor technician attempted to fix whatever went wrong, he nonchalantly said, “...technology...”. In response, an old man in the crowd yelled out “have you tried turning it off and on again?” to which he received a rapturous applause.
Well played, sir. Well played. 
 
Unfortunately, though, all good things must come to an end. And after a brilliantly curated set which borrowed songs from both the albums Veneer and Vestiges and Claws and various EPs, we made our way home, beers in hand.
 
José’s tour with The String Theory has now come to an end in the UK, but they are still touring Europe and North America. So if you happen to cross paths with them whilst abroad, get a ticket - you won’t regret it. 

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