Jessie Ware

“The live show had lived up to the hype generated by her flawless record.” KRISTY DURU is impressed by Jessie Ware’s show at the Junction.

jessie ware kristy duru The Junction

The Junction, Wednesday 6th March, £14 adv

Wednesday night saw the songstress du jour Jessie Ware launch her sell out UK tour right here in Cambridge. The queue featured an assortment of fans, ranging from sixth formers to equally excitable 30-somethings. Ware has been often compared to nineties pop/soul artists Sade and Lisa Stansfield. Though these classic influences are apparent in her sound and style, her modern edge seeps through, especially in her work as a vocalist for dance acts including Sampha, SBTRKT and PMR labelmates Disclosure.

At 8pm, the impeccable Laura Mvula opened the night, establishing herself as one to definitely watch for 2013. The emerging soul singer from Birmingham was enchanting; her dulcet, soulful tones were accompanied by a slick band that transported my imagination between my home city of London and early 20th century jazzy New Orleans. She performed an array of songs from her debut album Sing To The Moon, and I was captivated by her smoothness and the tight musicality of the ensemble, strings and all. As we basked in the aftermath of her surprisingly outstanding performance, soon enough the lights dimmed once more for the main act.

Opening with the first track of her Mercury-nominated album Devotion, the London native strutted on stage only to be quickly humbled by the warm reaction from the eager Cambridge crowd.

In between songs, Jessie bantered with the enthusiastic and at times, raucous, audience. She even stopped mid-set to take a look at a photo on my phone from when I met her last year, much to my delight. Jessie glided through her entire album with ease; we danced to the up-tempo If You’re Never Gonna Move (formerly 110%) and emotionally sang along to Wildest Moments and the sensual album closer Taking in Water. Effortlessly hitting the high notes, Jessie did not fail to reaffirm her place as one of the leading vocalists in a wave of fresh British talent. You could sense a collective sinking of hearts, including her own, once she eventually concluded the night with the Julio Bashmore-produced single, Running.

I left The Junction feeling impressed and, as a singing enthusiast myself, inspired by her captivating yet unintimidating stage presence and vocal range. The live show had lived up to the hype generated by her flawless record, and if the Chaka Khan-influenced track she debuted that night is anything to go by, there’s even better material to come from the talented lady with the big hoop earrings and the cheeky grin.

Come on BRIT Awards, don’t make the same mistake in 2014. Give this woman the greater recognition she so rightly deserves.