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  • Writer's pictureAniya Das

Live: Aaron Taylor - Jazz Cafe, London

'I feel like I'm in a coliseum. Are you entertained?'

Asked Aaron Taylor, as he looked up to the seated crowd above enjoying their dinner and some live music at the Jazz Cafe last night. Yes, was the answer to his question, yes we were.

As it turns out, Aaron Taylor is not only an incredibly talented musician, but is also one of the most genuinely likeable artists that I've seen perform for a long time. His band played him on as he took a seat at the keyboard on the far right of the stage, already winning points by making them the focal point of the show. The amicable quality when he spoke and the earnestness in which he sang was consistent throughout the night. He made a joke about Brexit early doors, winning the trust of the crowd (which was predictably a room full of remainers and general Brexit disdainers). The set that followed was a perfectly orchestrated selection of his catchiest tunes, interspersed with some new material and some sincere, heartfelt moments.

Playing Lay My Troubles Down had people singing along from the start, and this was succeeded by my absolute favourite tune, Blue. I was sorry that there were no live backing vocals for the harmonies, but this was somewhat compensated for with a keys solo which cheekily turned into a romantic call and response duet between Taylor's vocal ad-libs, and the guitarist's licks in response. The audience demographic was a mixed bag but certainly leaning towards those in their mid-twenties and above, and as a result, phones being whipped out for instagram stories were thankfully few and far between. But when he pulled out a mic'd up megaphone to sing Let Me Fly, even I was tempted to try and capture the moment. It was such a clever little trick, and the way that it filtered his vocals live on stage worked brilliantly, only hearing the tinny mids produced by the device.

Towards the end of the set he sings Home, a song that he wrote around the time of the Grenfell tragedy, making the lyrics all the more poignant as he choruses 'I will keep the lights on until you get back home', thinking of all of those who lost everything as they were expelled from the homes they'd known their whole lives. In the wake of the cruel comments made by Tory MPs about the victims of Grenfell, this moving tribute served as a reminder of the strength of true human compassion.

Overall, it was a wonderful ode to Aaron Taylor the musician and the man. Throw in some live backing vocals and brass next time, and it would be a truly flawless show.

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