About midway through her set last night, Jessie Ware said this was the very last of her shows for her 2012 album Devotion. It was hard to take seriously — the album's been released in three different formats (an EP version and a Gold Edition followed the initial UK release) and Ware has been “closing out” her tour since July; she's been touring the US for the past month. “We've been on tour for five weeks,” she said. “And for a Jewish Princess that's a big deal.”
Her music — the White pop soul of Lisa Stansfield tinged with the smoldering, deep loyalty love and torch songs of Sade — has resonated with listeners worldwide. Her success is something she hasn't quite embraced; whenever the audience clapped or reacted to the opening notes of a song, she was embarrassed and taken back.
Throughout her performance, Ware made eye contact with single audience members, appearing to forget for half-seconds at a time that she was onstage and segueing into small talk. At one point, her conversation about the reaction to her hoop earrings in Texas (“They said I looked like a chola!”) ran into the beginning of “Imagine It Was Us.”
Sonically, Ware never truly let loose, save for the mountain splitting note that ended “Running.” She opted instead to stay close to her MPC machine, which she used in lieu of backup singers. She used filters and echoes like an aural Instagram, mostly adding layers to her vocals. At other times, she punched the pads of her soundbank for effects, which made her four piece band (including a DJ) seem louder and fuller than it was.
The technological tricks weren't necessary. Ware's voice onstage was as strong as it is on her record; it wasn't Auto-Tune for deficiency's sake, nor was it actually Auto-Tune–it was an enhancement that gave a nod to the budget considerations that all touring artists have to deal with. Because even Jewish Princesses need help sometimes.
The Crowd: People with babysitter budgets who talk about LA traffic and workout DVDs in-between sets.
Overheard in the crowd: That's why I like Insanity!
Personal Bias: I think luh her.
Set list below
No To Love/I Want You (Marvin Gaye cover)
Still Love Me
If You're Never Gonna Move
Taking in Water
What You Won't Do For Love
Imagine It Was Us/Battle for Middle You (Julio Bashmore cover)
Love… Thy Will Be Done (Mariitka cover)