Nylon Nights

James Blake Turned The Tate Into a Bushwick Rave

Immersive installation meets dancing until 3 AM music.

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WHAT: James Blake Playing Robots Into Heaven Album Experience

WHEN: Thursday, September 28

WHO: James Blake, Jameela Jamil, Thibaut Grevet, The Bowers & Wilkins Team, and art and music lovers alike

WHERE: The Tate Modern, London, UK

WHY: An immersive experience of the new album Playing Robots Into Heaven

THE VIBE: This was not my first time visiting The Tate. It was, however, the first time I’d arrived with absolutely zero idea of what was in store for me. Over pre-event drinks, we’d all been told it would be an “immersive album experience” but, as guests packed into the building, it was clear that most were confused if we were getting an art show or a concert — the answer was both.

Art directed by Crowns & Owls and James Blake, the event featured an exclusive screening of the video for lead single “Loading”, along with Part 1 of a series of short films directed by The Reids in collaboration with Bowers & Wilkins (who also supplied the headphones for the listening sessions and the large speakers in the center of the room set up for Blake’s set). There was also imagery connected to the new album creative, Playing Robots Into Heaven, by revered photographer and director Thibaut Grevet spread across the room.

Blake started his set almost exactly on time (a rarity for a famous musician), and played a range of tunes including his own music, experimental electronic numbers, and songs you could really shake to. At first, everyone stood stiff — everyone looking around at each other as if to ask if we could all dance in such a prestigious building — but then a man in the front row (the real MVP of the night) threw his hands up into the air, and most people followed suit. At one point, if you closed your eyes you could almost feel like you’re in a Bushwick rave, but then open them to remember you’re at The Tate. The set lasted an hour and, while I didn’t see her with my own eyes, there were whispers that Jameela Jamil was up the back supporting her man (good for her).

BEST DRESSED: The guest at the front of the performance who got everyone moving. In a classic fit of a t-shirt and dress jeans, he served (literally) as a reminder that sometimes an outfit just looks better when you’re dancing like no one is watching.

OVERHEARD: “James Blake just looks so British. Sometimes I forget he’s some guy.” — a first reaction to the installations from an anonymous American guest.

The Reids
The Reids
The Reids
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