London producer, DJ and performer James Blake had some of the biggest hype going into South by Southwest this year. He arrived with his band at the beginning of a tour to support their debut album, and he says the back-to-back shows in Austin gave him time to perfect the set. "It's really early days," he said. "We've only been doing [the set] on 10 or 15 gigs." His first SXSW showcase was on a bill with veteran and more up-tempo acts like Rafael Saadiq and Duran Duran.
The 22-year-old's dubstep club-music past informed the brief, melancholy set (a voltage issue with a drum pad delayed and shortened his time on stage) which included a cover of Feist's "Limit to Your Love," a radio hit for Blake in the U.K. A second show at an Austin church sanctuary proved a better venue for this talented vocalist, whose emotional falsetto is at turns plaintive and, with the aid of electronic effects, soaring, mimicking a multivoice gospel choir.
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