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– Jessie Ware: January 20, 2013 in Chicago

Boxx Magazine | Jessie Ware: January 20, 2013 in Chicago

Saturday 03rd August 2013,


Jessie Ware: January 20, 2013 in Chicago

Jessica Nikolich January 23, 2013 No Comments

After white lights hit the crowd, Jessie Ware reacted very loudly (and very British-ly) with the observation, “There are so many blokes here!” Proof that a powerhouse female singer crooning about love can be worshiped by dudes, too. Then again, it is Jessie Ware. It doesn’t take many syrupy notes for her to glide and pound into before it’s even more obvious to a room full of starry-eyed men that she’s just pure talent.

The 28-year-old made it to Chicago’s very own Pump Room about a year ago when her actress sister Hannah (from STARZ series “Boss”) was brought to the Midwest. But supposedly it wasn’t as “swish” as Lincoln Hall, where she made an eleven o’clock start time on a Sunday unblinkingly worthwhile. If you didn’t know Ware’s 2012 debut album Devotion inside and out before the evening, you surely walked out with it deeply embedded in your musical repertoire. Ware tore through the cuts, interspersing candid dialogue between most gaps. Big hit “Wildest Moments” almost didn’t make the record—difficult to imagine, considering it was an audience favorite by a wide margin and was self-admittedly her personal favorite to perform live. “Taking In Water” we learned was written about her little brother. (She co-wrote all songs but one on the album). Others, however, were left a mystery despite her willingness to open up. “My friends wonder what is wrong with me,” she sings on “What You Won’t Do For Love.” The query was left unanswered, much to the certain disappointment of the male dancer front and center who yelled out, “What’s wrong with you, girl?!”

Prior to Ware’s shadowy entrance, Kriz Baronia’s disco-house beats started the night followed by local producer Nick Zanca, who spun a hypnotic set as Mister Lies. Four-piece group ON AN ON then soaked the stage with droney noise rock, including an especially moving opener called “The Hunter,” off their album Give In Out set to be released January 29 on Roll Call Records. This night was the closing performance for Tomorrow Never Knows 2013, Chicago’s annual five-day wintry festival that features several options of shows each night spanning across local venues like Schubas, The Vic and Metro.

South London-born Ware was the ideal pick to close it out. She has already made a mark in the UK as Devotion topped the UK Albums Charts at number five and gained a nod for the Mercury Prize in September. While she got her start doing backup vocals before finding a break into the pop universe singing lead on producer SBTRKT’s 2010 single “Nervous,” now that Devotion has swept through the airwaves, there’s no doubt Ware has a following of mismatched music lovers all finding solace in her soulful spirit and genuine down-to-earth nature.

The Black Cab Sessions of Ware’s “Wildest Moments” is one to YouTube. It’s an acoustic version filmed in a claustrophobic back seat of a moving taxi with Ware squished between two bandmates. Even stripped down and confined to a tiny car, the song is bone-chillingly sweet—and it was no different live. She breaks through the pulsating drum line with, “Baby in our wildest moments we could be the greatest / Baby in our wildest moments we could be the worst of all.” Ware is a contradiction in song and on stage where dorky embarrassment meets dominatrix with a microphone. Only she could get away with bringing a tear-induced rendition of dance number “110%” and then follow it up cracking jokes about Chicago’s lack of snow and abundance of biting wind. Just come back in July, fans begged. I think we all agree.

Catch her on tour:

01/23 – Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey Theater
01/24 – San Francisco, CA @ Popscene @ Rickshaw Stop

(photos by Christine Nikolich)

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