On Mass featuring Jamie Cullum at the Roundhouse
On 15th November the Roundhouse played host to a veritable circus of music. The resemblance between the old train shed and the big top is striking when one stops to notice it; its magnificent bowled ceiling of brick and steel, the arena style seating, and the strange muffled yet echoing acoustics made for the perfect setting for On Mass featuring Jamie Cullum.
The night’s master of ceremonies, Jamie Cullum, took to the stage to give his obligatory introduction. It’s not easy to tell how exactly the jazz singer from Essex slotted into the evening’s event, aside from the concert being part of the EFG London Jazz Festival. It was hard to shake the feeling that he was crowbarred into the line-up by the organisers to drum up some interest.
However, with the featured artist off the stage, the night erupted with young musical talent, beginning with the Roundhouse Choir who emerged, singing, from the audience and took their place on stage with a wonderfully heart-warming and impeccably arranged a cappella. The Roundhouse Audio Collective also performed an incredible, indecipherable cacophony of electronic noise, the brilliance of which lay in that it was on the verge of being understandable but nonetheless inspired.
Every performance, from the big bands, the DJs, the dancers, to the singers was immaculately curated into an coherent format. Each act was just long enough to leave the audience wanting more. When the half-hour break arrived, the wait was a long one.
After the interval, Cullum returned to a piano at centre stage and reeled off a relatively clever medley of pop songs, including Rihanna’s Don’t Stop the Music and Radiohead’s High and Dry, followed by some familiar jazz standards. It was well executed, but nothing new and, in comparison with the rest of the night’s entertainment, by no means stood out.
The finale really did bring the house down, a sort of classical-style theme and variations, only instead performed all at the same time – a clever way to end a showcase of so much young talent. There was truly something for every member of the sell-out crowd.
Watch a live video of the performance here: