George Bloomfield and Friends at Hyde Park Book Club 6 June 2022
Arriving at Hyde Park Book Club on a gloomy Monday, it didn’t seem the scene for the electric gig that was about to take place. As the supports played and the venue filled up, however, it began to seem certain that the launch of George Bloomfield’s new single Goodnight was going to be a hit. The Leeds-based indie jazz-funk artist has been making waves since the release of his EP Why Didn’t You in 2021, and the success of his new single is signalling only new and exciting steps for his work.
The first support act was the Imaji Collective, a jazz improvisational three-piece. With drums, bass and screaming saxophone, they opened the show with a real bang. They created some rapid bass-driven tunes as well as slow, thoughtful tracks, brimming with creative energy that was only going to continue as the gig went on.
After a short break, the music picked back up as Opheliah, the indie-folk project led by Tim Malkin, took the stage. With a full band, Opheliah combined raucous moments and quiet introspection expertly to capture the audience and build excitement for the single launch. The charismatic Tim Malkin built up the crowd for song after song and by the time their set finished and George Bloomfield took the stage, the venue was packed and the energy was electric.
(Photo of George Bloomfield and band: Gabriel Kennedy)
Bloomfield himself was charismatic and exciting as a performer: friendly and funny with the audience, he only matched his stage presence with his music. Backed by a full band with guitars, brass, flute and drums, the sheer vibrancy of the performance filled the Book Club basement to a burst. Flaunting his versatility, the jazz-funk set ran from slow romantic tunes like the as-yet unreleased Hazel Eyes to the Hyde Park summer vibe of Sun Shines Down On Me. He celebrates the skill of his band in roaring tunes like Reminiscent, where the trumpet and saxophone take centre-stage to and all in all made it a banger of a gig.
The new single, Goodnight, launched alongside a beautiful handmade stop-motion video which was projected behind the band as they performed. Bloomfield’s newest track tackles the heavy subject of grief following the passing of his friend. He considers the quiet moments before sleeping, remembering and celebrating the lives of those who are no longer with us. With gentle vocals, soft brassy undercurrents and gorgeous meandering guitar lines, Goodnight is a deeply soulful tune that takes an introspective look at a heavy and personal issue, creating a truly resonating piece of work.
George Bloomfield shows off just a slice of Leeds’ burgeoning homegrown jazz and funk scene, and his unique songwriting and playing style is a joy to see alongside a full band. With great supports in the Imaji Collective and Opheliah, it really felt like summer was finally starting despite the dull weather.
Words by Gabriel Kennedy
Stream the new single 'Goodnight' here.