Puma Blue @ The Castle Hotel, 19/02/18

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Picture this. You’re sat on your friend’s sofa, beginning to sober up after the house party they’ve just thrown, and you can hear the faint retching noises of someone throwing up in the downstairs toilet. The couple that are supposedly on ‘a break’ are just muffled voices from the room next door, so you allow your consciousness to indulge in previously buried thoughts. You begin to romanticise past toxic relationships and poor decisions, you even try to pinpoint what past experiences have led to the defining of your character…

Puma blue is exactly the soundtrack you want to frame these kinds of moments. The moments that make your normally restless mind, pause and just reflect.

With London-based producer ‘Lucy Lu’ perfectly instilling a dreamy ambience into the intimate back room of the venue, it was clear that even before Jacob Allen/ Puma Blue took to the stage, the audience of the 200-year-old Castle Hotel were in for an evening of transcendence. Lucy Lu firmly established his presence alongside his musical counterparts, particularly with his last 3 songs of the set which quickened the pace and really exhibited the instrumental talent of each musician.

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South London singer and songwriter Jacob Allen produces a delicate persona, extracted from what I envision to be a lonely, bedroom-enclosed environment and brought to life through his stage name Puma Blue. By no means do I intend this as a criticism, in fact the tightly enclosed feel that Puma Blue’s music possesses is exactly what makes it so genuine, raw and beautiful. There is nothing dishonest or fabricated infiltrating Puma Blue’s poetry. The exact same can be said about his live performances. His voice and ethereal guitar playing laced with the aid of saxophone gestures undoubtedly raised the hairs on the back of his audience’s necks.

Puma Blue is better live than on record. I mean if you’ve ever listened to ‘Only Trying 2 Tell U’ or ‘(She’s) Just a Phase’, you’ll know how outrageous this claim may be, but I can assure you that it is the truth. Allen’s vocals infuse the air with a hypnotic and graceful texture complimenting his reflective and poetic lyricism. His use of dubbed synth beats, haunting bass tones and outstanding sax parts create a particular form of communication. Almost as if each part is intrinsically woven into the main lyrical narrative to support Puma Blue’s emotional journeys and to reinforce the sense of torture and longing presented so clearly throughout each track.

I recommend next time it’s dark and raining, plug your headphones in and put ‘Only Trying 2 Tell U’ on full volume. You’re welcome.