There’s a scene in the first season of Girls where Hannah finds out Adam’s a former alcoholic from one of his friends at a hipster party in Brooklyn. Jessie Ware’s packed Music Hall show in Williamsburg–the upcoming gentrified neighborhood where folks who would’ve been robbed in the same area 10 years ago now live– was eerily similar.
It felt like a ’93 Wu-Tang concert with the stench aroma of Mary Jane lingering in the air. The drunken 20something girls were plentiful, bumping into anyone in sight. During the sultry delivery of “Night Light” the less riled up of the bunch snapped their fingers as if listening to an old Anita Baker jam. The hit “Wildest Moments” sparked a domino effect of said drunk girls dancing wildly and off-beat. A “Valentine” duet with Sampha evoked girls into a screaming frenzy. As we said, an episode of Girls.
The upcoming Williamsburg neighborhood was only partially the cause of the Girls-esque crowd of young people exhibiting the YOLO motto. Some props are owed to Ms. Ware. Her energy is palpable. After joking about being out of breath three songs in she blamed the Girl Scout cookies she devoured the day before. “Probably all those Samoa cookies I got from the bloody Girl Scouts yesterday,” April’s YOK artist joked. Everyone laughed from the pits of their bellies. The witty, spunky personality never turned off from that moment forward. After doing “Taking in Water,” which was written for her brother, her boyfriend was heard cheering loudly from the balcony. She quickly told everyone her man had accompanied her on this particular American trip to which he and his friends implored for a shout out. She conceded. “Give a big up to Max,” only to lovingly scold him seconds later. “Not the time or place, babe.” Again, Jessie had the crowd erupting in laughter.
Jessie’s stage presence is simple. A three person band–two guys on strings, one on drums– much like her appearance. A side ponytail with hoop earrings to match her signature midriff two-piece set with a long white jacket on top. Black and white are her colors. Her simplicity takes away absolutely nothing from the show because when you have such a smooth powerhouse voice you can rely on just that. In every essence of the term she’s a ’stand there and sing’ singer who’s hellbent on having fun. For every song she started with her mic in its holder standing in one place. By the end the mic’s in hand as she’s moving around on stage. Her voice touches your soul, her personality leaves you mesmerized.
The melodies to “110%”/”If You’re Never Gonna Move” fell from her lips like rain hitting the window pane on a summer day. “I felt like such a tart in that song. All the gay guys in the front were like, ’You, you, you,'” she laughs. This is why it’s hard not to love her. “Sweet Talk” and the Brownstone cover of “If You Love Me” were two-step inducing. Vocally “Swan Song” and “Taking in Water” were two of the most beautiful live performances of the night. On the former you felt the emotion in your bones when she sings “help me to escape.” She ends the night with “Running” to which at this point everyone’s inebriated and dancing.
Hannah, Marnie and even Jessa would’ve been perfect attendees at Music Hall last night. But for one night they’d fade into the background as the true star of the show made magic on stage.
[Photo: Getty Images]