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Jessie Ware At Sound Control, Review

Ben Patey is impressed by a singer who can actually sing

Written by . Published on November 9th 2012.


Jessie Ware At Sound Control, Review

TOO many modern day ‘divas’ are hiding behind a ruse – a ridiculous costume or a Calvin Harris dance track. Maybe even a completely made up alter-ego.

Anything in fact, to conceal the fact that, perhaps, they’re not actually that good.

Ware will never dominate the singles charts or come close to selling as many records as your Gagas or Rihannas, but that doesn’t matter.

Thankfully, the UK is churning out a healthy crop of proper female vocalists. The likes of Lianne La Havas and Delilah are pulling in rave reviews whilst Emeli Sande continues to look like a shoe-in to replicate Adele’s universal success.

Over to Sound Control on New Wakefield Street, and the turn of silky-toned Mercury nominee, Jessie Ware to show us why she’s been lauded as one of the freshest talents around.

From the very first note of ‘Still Love Me’, it’s clear that comparisons with Sade are not only inevitable, but unavoidable.

Low, sultry tones. Smooth R&B sound steeped in the 80s. Classic, sophisticated style. Tick, tick, tick.

Having recently sold out New York’s Bowery Ballroom in just 30 minutes, the indications are that, like Sade, Ware also has a good shot of making it over the water too.

Throughout the night, Ware is in constant dialogue with the crowd, clearly relaxed and happy to be doing what she loves. She’s also brought some family along for support.

Jessie Ware, Sound Control, Manchester

 “There you are Mum” she shouts in her infectious South London twang, after spotting her number one fan. “YOU ALRIGHT AUNTY SUSAN?”

Ware’s confidence on stage stems from the fact she’s an effortlessly good singer. ‘Night Light’ and ‘Swan Song’ suggest that Devotion is actually a toned down version of the way she wants to sing the songs. This is what live music should be about – the chance to go up a gear or two. ‘Taking in Water’ is a good example of this – not particularly a stand out track on the album but taken to a completely different level sang live.

Next up is a cover of ‘If You Love Me’ – sang originally by 90s R&B group, Brownstone, and given a modern feel with some SBTRKT-esq production.

Ware is clearly a classic R&B connoisseur. This is further evident by her stripped back cover of Bobby Caldwell’s ‘What You Won’t Do For Love’ followed by the Quincy Jones inspired ‘No To Love’ which flits briefly into Marvin Gaye’s I Want You’.

She saves her best – or best known at least for last- the delectable ‘Wildest Moments’ which already sounds like a classic and the seductive ‘Running’ which one reveller aptly described as “sleazy genius.”

Ware’s sound is a melting pot of modern sounding neo-soul and classic 80s R&B slow jams (think Anita Baker mixed with Angie Stone). Her own summation is a sound that "acknowledges Whitney Houston drama and the subtleties of Aailyah."

It may come as a bit of a shock then, that her biggest idol isn’t any of the aforementioned but rather Barbara Streisand.

But then as Ware explains, it’s just classic no-nonsense singing.

“She sings well, and that’s it.”

Ware will never dominate the singles charts or come close to selling as many records as your Gagas or Rihannas, but that doesn’t matter.

There’s no ruse or gimmick. Her selling point is simply that she can sing well.

That’s it. And that’s more than enough. 

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Rachael JamiesonNovember 9th 2012.

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