Timothy Bloom: Live @ London, Jazz Café
LA based Grammy Award winning hotshot Timothy Bloom has a music video up on Youtube that has been viewed over a million times. The sultry song ‘Til The End Of Time, which drips out of the speakers like a sexed up Misty Blue, was a minor hit when released in the US on Interscope. In the clip, he and fellow American singer V perform the whole song absolutely starkers – I should point out the ‘V’ in question is miss Veronika Bozeman, star of new US drama Empire, not the bloke once signed to BBE – which might explain why there is such a decent Jazz Café turn out… and the presence of what looks like a hen party, handbags on the floor, for what is ostensibly a showcase for an artist making his UK debut.
With Bloom’s PR bio promising soul, funk & rock, the support of brummie born Benjamin Yellowitz and his Ed Sheeran-meets-James Blake style of acoustic pop sets the gig up in hipster like fashion. The DJ then reminds everyone of Bloom’s award winning pedigree, he having produced/written for R&B acts Chris Brown & Ne-Yo, before the headliner himself, dressed neck to toe in black, wearing a leather waistcoat and sporting a sparkling crucifix, politely takes his seat, centre stage, behind a Yamaha keyboard. The melancholy In Full Bloom interlude from his independently released self-titled debut album quietens down the gathering throng, getting the violins out like a weepy John Legend, until the drummer counts in the heavy slop opener Wooooooo!!!, Bloom slipping on an electric guitar like the Wynton Marsalis of afro punk. It’s a confident start, followed by the equally gnarly funk of My Diamond – think Gary Clark Jr sung by Musiq Soulchild.
Throughout the show, Bloom switches between melancholy balladry and fast & slow electric slop jams, effortlessly drifting into a D’Angelo like falsetto, as he does when announcing, “I’ll do V’s part,” on the second verse of the show stopping, aforementioned ‘Til the End Of Time. The anthemic, gospel laced Stand In The Way [which features a somewhat eye-watering cameo from Herbie Hancock in the video] is a notable change of pace. Later he fearlessly leads the crowd into an impromptu rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody [“Mamaaaa, just killed a man,” sing the bridesmaids to my left] as a set up to his own composition Possibilities, itself a touching power ballad. “Like a lot of people I’ve been through a lot,” confesses Bloom, who makes up for a lack stage bravado and razzmatazz with a likeable and humble charm. Bloom’s all-round talent is such that, rather than being known as a successful songwriter with a side project as a solo artist, he could, if he wanted to, flip it and go all out as a performer. But then, maybe that is part of the ‘lot’ that he referred to having been through. Wrapping up on a strict deadline before the Jazz Café’s nightclub set starts, Bloom almost appears misty-eyed when thanking the audience, before remembering one final bit of housekeeping, directing people to where his CD could be purchased, stage left.
“Can you autograph it?” shouts a lady in the darkness.
“You want me to sign ‘em? Yeah sure I’ll sign ‘em.” Bloom’s reaction betraying his bemusement that an audience he probably wasn’t aware existed would make the effort and pay good money on a Friday night in London to listen to what he had to say/sing.