Live Review: Isaac Gracie - The Cellar, Oxford 09/10/2017

Tonight I am at one of Oxford's best loved music venues, The Cellar. Crammed down at the front of the stage in what is a very intimate venue, I suddenly start to become increasingly excited as I marvel at the glorious array of instruments lined up in front of me, most noticeable a glorious Rickenbacker guitar. Taking to the stage is Isaac Gracie, a 22 year old, singer, songwriter and the owner of the guitar hoard in front of me. Having already been snapped up by Virgin Records, I knew this guy wasn’t just about a good voice and a few guitar chords, I started to feel like I was about to witness one of the industries best kept secrets.

His charm and quick wit soon becomes apparent before a single note is even played. A subtle remark is made in the crowd about his amazing shirt, to which Isaac unashamedly admits, that he is dressed in head to toe in a floral print shirt and contrasting floral "slacks", all from H&M, women’s section, size 10. This is one of many things tonight that Isaac appears to be able to get away with and somehow gains the respect of the crowd while others would perhaps be ridiculed.

Isaac and the band launch straight into a favourite of mine, "All In My Mind". That Rickenbacker is just as smooth and haunting as Isaacs emotive vocals. A couple of songs later and he switches to the acoustic for “Silhouettes Of You”, both songs standing out because of how well the other instruments are incorporated; the drums and the symbols come rolling in and the backing vocals easily turn them into power rock ballad material, much like “Always” by Bon Jovi.

The next couple of songs hark back to Isaacs beginnings of simplicity, just him and his acoustic guitar, this is where you really notice the rawness in his voice. In “Love” and “Burn My Clothes”, it waivers with emotion and in such an intimate venue it was hard to hold back your own emotions. Isaac explains how he suffers from anxiety, pointing out how the low height of the ceiling was making him very nervous, but the crowd really embraced him and his quirks.

For the later part of his set we get treated to the Rickenbacker again and the full band for some more upbeat heavier tracks, that would be if Isaac remembered to plug in his guitar. Throughout the night Isaac would recall stories from his other shows where guitar cables would come unplugged during the song, and his inability to hold down a capo without it disappearing. Even though in Isaacs words, Oxford was a success, he still had moments where inexperience came through, he was very excited to have so many pedal options for him to use, he just needs to remember how and when to use them. He admits at another gig he went into a guitar solo and ended up pushing a pedal and ended up turning the power off instead of increasing it. But in all honesty, these mishaps do not deter from the amazing talent that shines through as we all laughed at his misfortune together. Considering his relatively short time in the industry he is winning over every town and city he plays in.

He ends the night with the song that started it all, “Last Words”. An instant crowd pleaser and it's not long until the whole room is singing it back to him. It's a beautiful acoustic, folk influenced track and it brings the evening to a natural and chilled out close. Isaac tells the crowd to stick around as he will up for meeting everyone, so I took his advice and picked up a copy of his new EP “The Death Of You & I” which he happily signed for me. The only downside to the evening was the lack of the title track from the new EP on the setlist, but he more than made up for it. Maybe I will catch him playing it the next time I see him. He totally converted me and I will be a “Gracie” for life.

Isaac Gracie - The Cellar, Oxford, 09/10/17

Photography and Review by Rachel Prew