Golden curtains sheen. A red heart glows. The singer-song writer Isaac Gracie stands in front of these shimmering stage pieces, with a guitar in hand and his face hidden beneath a mane of hair. He softly blows it away and shyly explains that he’s ‘going to play a few songs’. It’s an understated introduction to a beautiful performance.
Accompanied by just one bassist, Gracie makes his way through all his most well-known songs. The delicate fingerpicked ‘Burn My Clothes, Bury My Crown’ oozes fragility and tragedy about the flaws of love. Half-way through the song Gracie’s intuitive voice suddenly falls into a cry, which is so desperate that it holds the Bethnal Green audience spellbound. The performance continues this arresting nature with the confessional ‘Terrified’, a haunting ballad about worthlessness – ‘I don’t want to be your boy, I want to be your man […] but Darling, I am terrified’. – and with the latest single ‘Reverie’, which rises, falls and sways against Gracie’s Thom Yorke-like falsetto.
New songs are also shown to the crowd and are gladly met with claps and cheers. ‘Telescope’ and the banally named ‘Home is where the heart is’ (a song recently written during sound-check) both have the similar black-hearted despair as his older material, reflecting Gracie’s confidence in his 90s-esque sound of soft vocals and heavy reverbed guitars. An admirable fact in a world where recent artists like Harry Styles don’t really know where to put their hat.
Gracie closes the show with ‘Last Words’ – the scarily mature song that made him an artist to watch. ‘If you only want the woman you saw on T.V, then your eyes are open but you just can’t see’ croons Gracie, his eyes closed and brow furrowed. The golden curtains flicker, the audience sings and everyone’s heart breaks.
Verdict: Isaac Gracie’s sold out show was the real-deal – sophisticated, graceful and most importantly, unique.