JESSIE WARE-Brixton Academy. 29th January 2015.

1 02 2015

 

 

Writing about Jessie Ware is impossible at times because her live shows are at times, beyond words. I’ll treat this as less of a review and more of an appreciation of a career of this country’s finest singer.

Before I get into my take on the live show, just watch one of the first clips of Jessie to emerge:

A dream of her’s was to always play Brixton Academy, and for two nights she did it. Her voice is one that is constantly brilliant. There’s no way she could put on a bad show, ever. It would be impossible. There aren’t many that are consistently good. But I like to think the bands that I love and go see always are. That’s why I go see them, of course.

Just before Jessie stepped onto the stage, the PA blasted out More Than A Woman by Aaliyah. Being the sentimental fool that I am, I couldn’t help but feel she should be playing here too. Anywhere. It’s a loss you never really get over, you know. It’s never felt right, and it never will.

Jessie steps onto the stage as the intro to Running starts. He voice and presence causes an immediate frenzy. One person, just one person oozes infectious stage presence that some bands can’t muster. Her on stage talk is all over the place and full of swear words. This is why I love her. You can tell just by that massive smile on her face that playing Brixton means more to her than anyone else, it means more to her than any other venue would. It was a truly special show that was a long time coming.

After she performs 110%, the crowd went ballistic. I’ve never been at a show where this reaction happens, ever. Every song is performed in a way that makes you wish you had even an ounce of her talent. She’s undeniably the best singer around. She captures that 80s classy R&B sound that Sade gave us and mixed with something different, much like Aaliyah did. Her lyrics are vulnerable and honest. The way she brings them to life on stage is on a different level, almost like you can’t believe a voice like this exists.

For me, the most important moment of the set is her bringing back the gorgeous Taking In Water to her set. This song is definitely one of the highlights from her 2012 debut, Devotion. The song was written for her baby brother Alex, and when she performs this song you really do feel as if you are intruding on a personal moment between them. The song is so delicate and beautifully written, to see it again live is for me the best part of the show.

The set is the perfect mix of both records and with a couple of bonus tracks such as Valentine (she brings out her former drummer and current support Dornik to sing with her) and The Way We Are. You know what else would be an ideal Jessie show? If she did b-sides and tracks off the deluxe editions.

When you see a band/singer you love live, a part of you should always come away either wanting to be in that moment forever or wishing you could do it. Sometimes both. Maybe always both.

These two shows at Brixton just show how rare a talent like Jessie’s is, and how needed a voice like hers is. Everything about her music is approachable and so easy to relate to. From when she hits THAT note during Running and THAT certain part during Say You Love Me, plus much more, it is all evident as to why she has finally sold out Brixton. TWICE. She gives it her all, and so do her band. Her bassist (who I believe is a fellow Italian!) is a delight to watch, he really gets into it. As I was leaving the venue, I heard two people behind me slag the guy off by saying “The way he moves just makes him look like he’s full of himself, and he really has no need to be.” 1- He’s not. He moves like that because he evidently is having the time of his life up there and is blood good. And 2- Are you selling out two nights at Brixton? No love, you’re not. So you know, be quiet. Another group decided that Jessie shouldn’t have played The Way We Are. But there are idiots everywhere, even at shows.

Jessie’s got the voice of an angel and the mouth of a sailor. I don’t get how anyone could ignore such a talent and turn onto something else. She’s got soul in her words, music and voice. It doesn’t happen too often, remember that.





JESSIE WARE. Roundhouse. 18th September 2014.

19 09 2014

 

 

Exactly a year ago I won tickets to see Jessie Ware at Abbey Road Studios, a year laterĀ I win tickets to the iTunes Festival. This meant selling my Fat White Family ticket, but it was fine- it went to a good home.

Anyone who has seen Jessie Ware live (and I don’t mean via the internet) will know she has this indescribable presence that just makes you want to keep seeing her perform live. I don’t know what it is, but as soon as she starts singing even if the songs are heart-breaking, you just feel alright. She has this effortlessly gorgeous voice that doesn’t hit the music industry very often. I know I’ve said it many times but she’s got the soul/passion that I’ve only heard in Sade and Aaliyah’s voice. All three of them have this soft, gentle and reassuring quality to their voice and music. It is a pleasure to listen to.

She opened her set with Running which everyone pretty much went nuts to. But the new songs are really something else. Sure everyone loves Wildest Moments but can we PLEASE just declare Want Your Feeling as the best thing to happen all year? If you don’t dance, even just a little bit to it, then you should see a doctor about your joints. They’re not moving right, go sort yourself out. Her new songs sound beyond brilliant live, so I think we have all reached a mutual understanding that Tough Love is probably going to be one of the best records out this year. We’re all okay with this aren’t we? Good. Every year I find at least one song that I could quite happily play on repeat, all day every day and Want Your Feeling is that song for me this year. I love every little thing about it. The lyrics may be a little sad, but the song just makes me massively happy. My moves to Groove Is In The Heart (my girlfriend will say they are embarrassing, and they probably are) are pretty much similar to what Want Your Feeling makes my limbs do.

Her songs just make you want to turn to the person you love/adore, and to just tell them that. Her songs, even when heart-breaking just ooze a wealth of love that isn’t conveyed enough. Or maybe it is, and Jessie is the only one doing it in a real way. A way that is relatable. However, my attention was lured away from Jessie a few times when I saw a man doing incredible dance moves up in the seating area. His moves were seriously influential and they’ll be taking over dancefloors soon. Hopefully. He was having a ball, and his moves really showed that. Anyone who saw them enjoyed the little hand gestures he was unleashing. I’ll probably be using them.

I read a few reviews of last nights show, and some were bashing the fact that her set consisted of new songs. Her album is out in a few weeks; surely it makes sense for her to use a platform as massive as this festival to play them? Some people are never satisfied, so we ignore them. Her new songs sound gorgeous live, and it is fairly obvious that Tough Love is going to sit nicely next to Devotion as being a fine piece of work. When she performs live, she is someone who really puts their all into it without being forced. You can see just how happy she is to play these new songs, especially Kind Of…Sometimes…Maybe which pretty much makes you want Jessie and Miguel to work with each other all the time. For me, I really loved Cruel and Pieces. You And I (Forever) is brilliant also, basically it is all excellent and you’re daft if you don’t buy her new record.

Last year when I saw her, she had just got engaged to Sam and now when she talks about her husband this captivating glow just takes over her, and you really feel a sense of pure and unconditional love. That’s how it should be. The fact that she is happy but can write painful and heart-breaking love song really shows how brilliant she is. And I do think one thing about Jessie is that she really doesn’t know how good she is. She’s better than good obviously. This humble soul is a credit to the music industry, and I do stand by the fact that she’s my generation’s Sade. She’s a genuine soul whose voice just takes you somewhere else. I wish I had the words to describe just how wonderful she is, but those that love her know.

She’s not released her second record yet, but last night proved that Jessie Ware is easily the best vocalist around. No one else comes close.

 





JESSIE WARE. Abbey Road Studios. 19th September 2013.

20 09 2013

JessieWare1

 

I’ve been to some brilliant gigs in my time. Some have been in questionable places that disregard health and safety. Others have been in beautiful places that I’d be totally fine with sleeping in if no one knew I was there. Thing is, I prefer the venues that look as if they are going to fall apart and are so dark you think a door is a person, so you speak to them without realising. That could just be my shit eyesight though….

I got a phone call on Monday evening. I never answer my phone because it is always on silent and I have no idea why someone would want to call me. For some reason, I answered. I was told I had won tickets to see Jessie Ware at Abbey Road Studios on Thursday (last night.) I never win anything (okay so a week before I got an email saying I’d won tickets to see Ellie Goulding at the iTunes Festival but shush!) I hung up after all was confirmed. Told my pals who I was with, and invited one of them with me. Apparently my girlfriend should have been my first choice. OOPS! So with my pal and I excited about the gig, she got exactly the same phone call as me! What are the chances!

Let’s talk about the show now.

Abbey Road has this incredible atmosphere that just hits you as soon as you walk in. My favourite thing was the photo of Jamie Hince (The Kills) on the wall. I was thinking of ways to take it, but realised quickly the photo is as big as me so it wouldn’t work. It’s not like it was a print I could roll up and shove in my back pocket.

After indulging in the free drinks (I dislike wine but free wine tastes really nice, as do free cocktails) we shuffled towards the front. I was stood directly in front of the mic. I like to be at the front; mainly because I’m a short arse who cannot see.

Jessie strides onto the stage with the most glorious smile I’ve ever seen; thing is, during the night her smile just gets bigger and bigger. She plays pretty much all of the songs from Devotion. If you don’t own her record, you are missing out. Her voice is so beautiful. She’s my generation’s Sade mixed with Aaliyah. Throughout her set she speaks to those who have come all the way from Canada, high fives people at the front, takes photos with fans as she’s singing and pretty much has the best time ever on stage.

What made this gig really special was that, it was in an intimate venue that holds a lot of history. The chances are one of your favourite bands have probably recorded here at some point. The love in room was just simply euphoric. I’ve been to Morrissey gigs where people have tried to launch themselves at the stage, but this was something else. There is something deeply captivating about Jessie Ware, and it isn’t just her voice. You can tell that she truly loves what she does, and the sheer happiness that just pours from her falls into the crowd.

For me personally, when she sang Running for about 10 seconds whilst looking at me was delightful. As was having a photo with her afterwards, and her thanking us for being at the front. NO PROBLEM JESSIE!

Devotion is one of the best records I’ve heard in years. It has pure soul and expresses love on different. Hearing songs such as Taking In Water (written for her brother, probably my favourite) and Night Light (written for her boyfriend, but he doesn’t really like it!) live just left me in awe. The way she sings so effortlessly and is so gracious, she is undeniably the best UK female singer around. She has this genuine soulful feel to her music, and because it is so natural it just takes you over in such a magical way. Watching her made you feel like the luckiest person in the room because you were witnessing something memorable. You can tell every single song means the world to her, and I think that is what makes us fans feel the same way. Her connection with the crowd was stunning, and to have a quality like this is quite rare- which makes you instantly treasure her.

Jessie’s band are incredible. Everyone on stage has this infectious grin, and I’m pretty sure I spent the hour watching them all just grinning back like a loon! But the thing is, you really cannot help it. Live music to me, is everything. Music is a massive part of my life but live music is something else. It allows you to unleash everything with the person responsible for the sounds stood right in front of you. To not be moved by something like this is something I cannot quite get my head around. I suppose it is because music is that important to me. Shows like this will be talked about in years to come, because it was so intimate and special.

This show was made up of beautiful moments that all there were so lucky to have witnessed. What truly blew my mind, as I’ve said above was just how happy Jessie Ware is on stage. You can just tell how humble she is, and how every cheer and when word is sung back to her just means so much.

Last night made me fall in love with London even more than I already am. It was a spectacular event with brilliant people. I also now enjoy Campari. As an Italian, I feel I should and as it was in the free cocktails, I became a fan. Hopefully it will taste as good if I ever buy it… Oh and the goodie bag we were given was a treat too!

A huge thank you to Wayne who called on Monday to say I had won the tickets!

 

* The photo above was taken by my girlfriend because she’s got one of them iPhones that takes alright photos and my phone is crap!