Jessie Ware took to the Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles on Thursday evening 12/13/12 for the first west coast leg of her debut US tour. The venue that night was packed with fans who had been patient (to say the least) in the months leading up to the show. The performance had originally been scheduled to take place at the venue’s smaller stage and Bar section, yet due to an overwhelming demand, extra tickets were raffled off in a ‘try your luck’ type fashion, leaving many crossing their fingers for the chance to see the rising star. ‘Luck’ actually proved to be a good de-script for anybody who got the chance to see the recent Mercury Prize nominee perform that night, as Ware gleefully showcased tracks off her stellar debut LP Devotion for the first time ever in Los Angeles… and second time ever in the States.
In tow with stripped down and minimal three-piece band, Jessie Ware opened the evening’s set with the title track from her album. The crowd response seemed overwhelming to the singer as the mid-tempo R&B, AC vibes of “Devotion” set an exciting tone for the rest of the night. Between performing tracks, a talkative Ware wrapped a captive audience into her world with the personal touch of conversation, chatting up fans about her recent misquote in Pitchfork about Big Pun (“I love Big Pun” she clarified), how the venue reminded her of the place she had her prom, and even enquiring where she would go about finding some valley girls and even Larry David during her stay in the city. When Jessie wasn’t conversing with fans, her dynamic voice told story through the power of song. Leading her steady band of drums, 4-string bass, guitar, and the occasional synth (performed by her), Ware delivered on her unique style of sultry and no frills soul-pop and R&B, that’s equally smooth and chill as it is forward thinking. There were moments during the set that you could hear a pin drop. Her performance of “Wildest Moments” was a standout of the evening. The ballad, with it’s several recent primetime TV placements, displays some compelling Top 40 potential. It could very well be that next big, slow dance prom caliber tune. The crowd grooved along with the singer as they joined her to sing along to each and every song. Ware ended her set on a high with a strong performance of her ‘best tracks of 2012’ worthy jam, “Running”.
It has no doubt been a big year for Jessie Ware. And her performance that Thursday night only helped to assure any premonitions that with some more great records, and a chart topping hit or two under her belt, this young UK songstress is in the running as something like a Sade-caliber artist for the next generation. Only time will tell, but for now it seems that much is in store for the prospering young star.
Jessie Ware (Facebook)
Reviewed by b3