Britain’s Jessie Ware had one of our favorite albums of 2012 and has been getting love from the American press for a few months, but now that she has a US release (If You’re Never Gonna Move EP), she’s building a legion of fans here to stack up to the buzz. Thursday (January 17) Ware performed to a rapturous sellout crowd at New York City’s Bowery Ballroom, and held the audience under her spell for the full show. “It’s gonna be good tonight, isn’t it?” she said early on, proceeding to high-five fans and give playful banter (at one point she dedicated “Sweet Talk” to Kim and Kanye) in between songs during the Devotion-centric set.
Live, tracks like “Night Light” and “No To Love” had a richness to them — the bass lines were thicker, the guitar work swaddled in more reverb — without sacrificing any of the crystalline production heard on her album. But it’s Jessie who really shined, beautifully building up to the closing minute of each song. And when that final bridge and chorus hits, she digs in her heels and belts it out like those R&B singers who ruled radio in the mid-90s, just smooth and classy and classic, power without histrionics. That’s certainly one way to inspire devotion.
Check out photos from the concert up top.