Jessie Ware played her first US show last night at the Box, a swanky and intimate venue on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. It was a flashy entrance for Ware, whose debut album, Devotion, is one of the strongest releases of 2012 (and, for whatever reason, currently unavailable on iTunes, Amazon, and Spotify — she recently tweeted that the Spotify situation will be fixed soon). With no opening act, a film crew documenting the show and a three-piece band that largely stayed hidden in the shadowy recesses of the stage, the show seemed to be about one thing and one thing only: introducing Jessie Ware, in the flesh.
Ware belted out her performance, playing most of Devotion in the process. “Night Light,” “110%,” “Wildest Moments,” and set-closer “Running” were crowd favorites, with a good number of fans singing along. “Wildest Moments” was received particularly well, and Ware noted that the song blew up after Katy Perry tweeted a link to it. (Returning the favor somewhat, Ware encouraged the crowd to watch Katy Perry’s documentary, something she said she did on the plane to New York.) Ware also announced that “110%” is no longer called “110%” — at the request of Big Pun’s family, she changed the name to “If You’re Never Gonna Move.” She joked about it, whispering, “Fuck you Big Pun!” before diving into the song.
With the benefit of gorgeous lighting and a good sound system, Ware showed that she can perform. Even if the show had been lackluster, though, her charm would have saved her. Between songs she joked with the audience, telling stories about how she found a dildo in her sister’s bathroom that her sister had stolen from the Box (a nightclub known for it’s, um, “exhibitionist” burlesque show), that she listed Lena Dunham and Zosia Mamet from Girls on her guest list and was disappointed they didn’t show (“Shoshanna’s the best!”), and that she was devastated by the death of Kim Kardashian’s cat. When she asked if it was true that Woody Allen performed at the Carlyle every Monday, and a member of the audience confirmed he did, she asked, “What are we doing here?”
Jessie Ware will head out on a short U.S. tour in January. Dates:
01/14 Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair
01/15 Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
01/17 New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
01/18 Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
01/23 Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey Theater
01/24 San Francisco, CA @ Popscene @ Rickshaw Stop
02/13 Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Bar