Isaac Gracie has come a long way since creating his first demos in his bedroom in England, not too long ago. Now signed to Virgin/EMI, with a remarkable debut folk-rock album out, Gracie has been on the road forever, playing these songs to hundreds and thousands of people.
Maybe he didn’t really see things happening the way they did, yet, there he is, standing in Brussels’ AB Club, one of the most famous and authentic music venues in Belgium. The last time he played in the city was months before, supporting Angus and Julia Stone, somewhere comparable to an arena. But tonight is Isaac’s own show. People are here to see him perform his own music. For someone like Gracie, who speaks about the anxiety he deals with and coming to terms with accepting the person he is, it must be overwhelming. We, as an audience tend to forget it, especially when the long-haired singer and his effortless bohemian look steps on stage and make us forget everything around us.
The shyness between everyone involved is however palpable, since Isaac Gracie‘s songs are quite intimate and the way he exposes himself with delicacy makes him vulnerable at first. His emotive way of performing, however contrasts with the way he opens up about himself in, when telling random stories between the songs. Somehow it softened the atmosphere and by the time the first 3 or 4 songs of the night are done, everyone’s is at ease and even begin dancing and singing along.
Isaac Gracie is certainly a modern life Troubadour, who’s often compared to his hero Jeff Buckley, but as much as this is accurate, it’s worth noticing that despite only beingat the dawn of his career, the 23-year-old definitely stands firm on his own.
When Gracie starts playing ‘silhouettes of you’, you find yourself having the same butterflies as when your high school crush walked past you over a decade ago. And as the singer-songwriter croons about his own hopes and dreams, anxiety, ex-girlfriends, family, broken relationships and whatnot, you can’t help but relate and sometimes even feel crushed by the feelings he describes. Somehow, he makes a whole room become silent and it’s not awkward. It’s out of respect, because the moment is precious.
Isaac Gracie is backed with a solid small group of musicians, who add depth and grandeur to the performance. They are themselves visibly enjoying their time and it’s contagious. A quick glance at the small crowd confirms that most of tonight’s – audience members are having the best time, too. Smiles all round and lots of dancing are punctuating the evening, while a humble Isaac Gracie dives into the impressing and ambitious The death of you and I. A track that sees the singer exploring a wide range of singing lines as well as different soundscapes and atmospheres; highlighting the intensity and the brutality of its lyrics.
Isaac’s Gracie candid and humble character is endearing. At the end of the day, we are lost in his introspection, almost as if it was ours. This is how talented he is.
Will I ever stop smiling? I wonder.
I’m sure everyone was feeling the same, leaving the venue after a dreamy hour and a half.
Isaac Gracie – ‘Isaac Gracie’, out now.