Romare @ Headrow House, 4/3/17

Romare’s live show is a work of art and recently it has been evolving. Originally just him and a percussionist, they create the all music on the spot, apart from the vocal samples. The addition of a third member has added to the live experience – saxophone has to be one of the sexiest instruments out there and this added much sultrier tones to some songs, which considering Romare has an EP and an album titled Love Songs (part one and part two), only seems appropriate.

Within five minutes of coming onto stage, the seemingly spacious and airy Headrow House turned into a hot sweaty mess, with arms flailing all over the place.

Romare takes his influences from all around him, and even used his dad’s mandolin on the most recent album, as they used to play in an Irish band together. This Irish folk influence comes through slightly in ‘Je T’aime’, which he played midway through his set alongside slightly heavier but still just as danceable tracks like ‘Who Loves You’.

For his encore he played ‘Down the Line (It Takes a Number)’. Like the majority of his set, this was completely different to the version on the album, but still consistent with the style that is central to Romare’s sound. He cuts and pastes samples and fuses them with bass lines and percussion, a style which is inspired by his namesake, Romare Bearden, an artist who used collage-like approaches in his work.

At the end of Romare’s set the crowd seemed torn between not wanting him to go, but also in desperate need of some cool fresh air since the gig room was increasingly resembling a sauna.

It’s already been announced that he’ll come back to Leeds as part of a ridiculous line up in May, as part of the WORLD ISLAND Festival, where he’ll play alongside the likes of Floating Points and Yussef Kamaal and, if this last show is anything to go by, this will not be one to miss.

Polly Hatcher

(Image: Kaltblut Magazine)

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