Electric Picnic review: Jessie Ware – Great songs but a flat performance

The singer manages to rouse a lethargic audience, but her gig still feels like a filler

Jessie Ware: she admits early on that she has a cold and “a croak”. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Jessie Ware: she admits early on that she has a cold and “a croak”. Photograph: Dave Meehan

 

JESSIE WARE

Electric Arena
Too many pop stars document generic emotions for maximum empathy, but the British singer-songwriter Jessie Ware goes a few steps beyond this. Across her three albums – Devotion, from 2012, Tough Love, from 2014, and Glasshouse, from last year – she has detailed aspects of her personal life via soul-pop diary entries. Their subtleties might go unnoticed on the final afternoon of a tiring and humid three-day festival – many in the audience prefer to sit and chat rather than stand and respond – but there’s no denying the strength of songs such as Your Domino, Champagne Kisses, Alone and You & I (Forever). The latter pair, in particular, rouse the crowd from their festival fug and generate the kind of response you might expect in a more compact venue. All this said, however, there is a feeling of mid-afternoon filler about the gig. Ware’s voice occasionally hits a bum note – she admits early on that she has a cold and “a croak” – which instantly lowers expectations. She also forgets some of the words to Slow Me Down, on record a lacerating tune but here feeling flat. A bit like the gig itself.

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