Jakob Ogawa


Nothing beats a chill Saturday evening gig after a busy week, and I’m positive that’s what I’m going to get as I head to the basement of Manchester’s newest ‘cool kidz’ venue, Yes, on Saturday to see Norwegian indie-pop stalwart Jakob Ogawa.

I’m lucky enough to catch Stockport natives Valve while they’re finishing up their support set and I enjoy a quick bottle from the handy bar down here while I drink in their tight, easy listening style. We’re even treated to some strong messages about trans rights during the introduction of one of their tracks and I am here.for.it! I reckon I’ll be seeing more of these guys in the near future.

There’s a fair few people packing out the front half of the small venue as Jakob and his band take the stage.

Having released his debut single back in 2016 it seems as if Jakob has had a busy few years – his five track EP Bedroom Tapes landed in 2017 and was quickly followed with Velvet Light in 2018. He takes us through a selection of easy listening, jazz synth tracks from both of these throughout the night.

The control Jakob exudes over his sometimes almost ethereal voice is truly impressive. ‘You Might Be Sleeping’ and ‘Sunshine Girl’ are so well put together it’s like the band have a bubble around them as they perform it – they’re completely in sync, not a reebok trainer out of place, and the tracks just wash over you.

Jakob explains that this is their first time in Manchester as he introduces his band, giving us a glimpse into what appears to be a shy and softly spoken individual with a quiet confidence that drips through lazy song after lazy song.

Tracks such as ‘All I Wanna Do’ and ‘Up And Away’ (if my listening ear is correct!) get people at the back dancing freely and joyously, losing themselves in the easy sounds that you can’t help but close your eyes and start to sway to.

All in all it’s a short set but I’m left feeling like I’ve just stepped out of a warm sea, ready to pick up a cool drink and have a sleep in the sun. Jakob has gained himself a fan tonight. If you’re into synth/electric indie pop that will instantly make you relax then give him a listen.

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