Despite being on my juice cleanse and her stage time being 11pm, I ventured out last night to see Jessie Ware, the British darling of the music world last year with her debut album Devotion. The album is certainly one of my personal standouts from 2012 and I cannot wait for her to fully expand her prowess in 2013.
As part of the TNK festival at Lincoln Hall, Ware took the stage promptly after 11 and apologized for the lateness and couldn’t believe “the fucking cold.” That’s Chicago for you in January, though.
With only one album under her belt, Ware tore through a 50-minute show with more guts & gusto than is found on the album. With a 3-piece band behind her, Ware was vocally stronger and showed off a range that feels a little understated within the electronic hum of the album.
Songs like “Taking in Water,” dedicated to her younger brother, truly came to life with more gravitas. Her biggest hit, “Wildest Moments,” inspired couples in the audience to clutch to one another despite the song having somewhat of a bittersweet lyric.
> Watch a rendition of “Taking in Water” below:
My favorite moments would have to be the interpolation of Marvin Gaye’s “I Want You” laid atop “No To Love,” one of the album’s funkier tracks that I just love. “Sweet Talk” also just had that delightful groove of late 80s Anita Baker gone pop.
> Watch a rendition of “Sweet Talk” below:
Ware, decked out in trademark crop-top and high-waisted harem pants, was absolutely charming and a gracious singer. My friend Anthony told me before the show that her sister had a breakout role in the Chicago-based television series “Boss,” featuring Kelsey Grammar. So imagine how much we shit ourselves when she herself brought up the same reference. Ware was a cross between the demeanor of Tracey Ullman and the style of Lisa Bonet in a chunkier, Dee-Lite style heel.
The other standout moments for me were “Swan Song” and the cover of Bobby Caldwell’s “What You Won’t Do For Love,” which can be found on the new E.P. IF You’re Never Gonna Move. Oddly enough, Ware’s album had been on iTunes but she herself made a joke last night that it was ripped off the store and should be ‘officially’ out in the states in April.
You can pick up the EP below on iTunes and scour the web for Devotion if you’re down for such things.