Jessie Ware at Somerset House Summer Series
The pulsating bass and glistening electronic beats of Devotion spark a palpable excitement in the crowd as Mercury Prize nominee Jessie Ware gracefully steps onto the stage. It has been a while since she played her own headline show rather than a festival and it’s obvious that playing to a London audience makes her feel right at home.
Her soulful pop sounds delightful in the beautiful surroundings. The band is slick and well-rehearsed, but still seems spontaneous. Jessie herself looks at home, pacing the stage and waving to the enthusiastic crowd whilst never faltering in her performance.
Having supported Paloma Faith at the venue last year, Jessie Ware says she “hopes she’s improved”. Judging by the reaction to a spectacularly classy show, she has definitely come a long way. Celebrity fan Russell Crowe has been tweeting about her and is tonight amongst the crowd. Ware has been making waves because her music has longevity: she harks back to soul with a new twist.
Her debut album was released last year, yet every song still sounds fresh and original. On the perfectly sugary Sweet Talk, Ware invites the crowd to dance a two-step to the beat; the audience happily obliges in a haze of summer cider, much to her delight. Ware tries to get closer to the crowd during If You’re Never Gonna Move and after an inspired Imagine It Was Us she treats us to her version of Julio Bashmore’s Battle For Middle You and seems overwhelmed by the wild, lengthy audience reaction.
This kind of down-to-earth likeability makes her stage presence so relaxed and entertaining. Between songs she seems so candid and accessible, then when she sings her voice is rich and effortless. Live, she sounds more powerful and confident than on record. Dedicated to her brother, Taking In Water is when her range and talent peaks. It’s a pleasure to watch: Ware seems lost in the music and lost in the moment.
Playing her entire back catalogue, Ware saves her two biggest hits to close the set. The sublime Wildest Moments gets the couples in the audience loved up and the irresistibly sexy Running sparks a mass clap-along. Then with a gushing thank you and a jubilant smile, she leaves the stage and the crowd hungry for more. Jessie Ware triumphs at this homecoming show with an understated performance that is certainly sublime and nothing short of brilliant.
Photos: Katie Harris
For further information and future events visit Jessie Ware’s website here.
Watch the video for Running here: