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British singer Jacob Banks commanded the crowd’s attention at Schubas Tavern on Thursday night with his full-bodied, soulful voice and subtle stage presence. The Interscope Records signee took the stage around 9PM, donning a Cubs jacket and backed by a drummer and keyboardist/guitarist. Jacob dove right into the nine song set, kicking things off with his piano-driven 2013 track “Worthy.” Before playing his next song “Part Time Love,” Jacob addressed the crowd, saying he’s here from the UK “exclusively to fuck with you” and explained that this song was about dating an alcoholic, warning the crowd not to do it. The energy of the night reached full potential with the anthemic tune “Monster,” the whole crowd clapping together during the introduction.
The set moved onto new song “Mercy,” which Jacob prefaced by saying it will be released via a new EP coming in the next couple of months. A hush fell over the crowd when things slowed down with ballad “Unknown.” The 24 year old songwriter sang out his vulnerabilities, putting raw emotion behind these honest and relatable lyrics about the end of a relationship, and the crowd showed their appreciation by erupting in massive applause at the end. The mood lightened back up with a reggae-tinged cover of Corinne Bailey Rae’s hit “Put Your Records On.” Jacob started the song by saying he had to put up for his home country, also joking “if you don’t know this song, you’re weird.”
The set started winding down with another new one, which Jacob introduced saying “this is another new one, fuck with me,” also introducing his band before starting to play “Chain Smoking.” Immediately after, a fan shouted out “play Silver Lining!”...which coincidentally was the next on the set list, and proved to be a crowd favorite with its gospel structure. The set ended just after 9:30 with “Unholy War,” a new track just released this week, with retro R&B vibes.
As Jacob walked off stage to massive applause and an audience full of smiles, it seems like he indeed accomplished his mission to win over the crowd. Throughout the set he really managed to work the stage, albeit small with minimal production. The crowd remained hooked by Jacob’s raw vocal talent and emotional delivery, and we can’t wait to hear what’s next from this breakout performer. He’ll be on tour for the rest of the month with Swedish songstress LÉON; check out the tour dates below:
Keep your eyes and ears out for new music from Jacob Banks, but for now, start your weekend with his latest release, "Unholy War."