COLLIER, MULLARKEY + COLE | London, Pizza Express

“Man, just get out of bed and get yourself to Pizza Express — this could be one of those gigs everyone says they were at.”

It’s 11.30pm on Wednesday 1 April 2015 and there’s something in the air. In North London the thing in the air happens to be rain, but we’re plotting a course for Pizza Express in Soho where young maestro Jacob Collier is stepping out with bassist Robin Mullarkey and drummer Louis Cole. Given that this midnight gig was announced a mere five days ago with practically zero fanfare, it is worth noting that the venue is buzzing. Artists huddled around tables; industry types loitering by the guest list; two French kids who’ve come all the way from Paris for this one, hastily arranged show.

What are they all here to see? The magic. The glistering harmonic utterances of an artist who has been building a fan-base via slick, intricate, stupefyingly joyous musical creations.

Think that’s an unfair amount of hype to live up to? You’re damn right — and they deliver. A set that rocks from the experimental drum-driven opening through to Jacob’s ever-evolving blend of vocoder and fluttering piano licks. The drum/bass unit of Cole and Mullarkey is a deft and confident choice — there is a trust in the band and in the room that generates a mandate for experimentation and raw, bright genius.

Suffice to say, it was one of those gigs. I — along with a number of people far larger than the room’s capacity — will be saying that they were there.

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