Jessie Ware's Devotion is one of the most critically acclaimed albums of the year and with good reason. It's a beautifully made soul-pop album that takes it's cues from the very best UK dance producers and let's her tremendous vocal prowess shine. Ware touched down in Dublin this week for a sold-out show at The Sugar Club to a room packed full of avid fans. Ware, an endearing and entertaining presence on stage, even brought up the house lights as she jokingly tried to figure out exactly who her audience was on the first night of her own solo tour.
However you could classify the crowd at the show they were undoubtedly under the spell of the British songstress. She ran through all of the material on Devotion (including deluxe edition tracks), with a tight live band adding an upbeat texture to the tracks that gave them a new sense of life in a live setting. The intimate feel of the Sugar Club, that Ware jokingly suggested was like a David Lynch film, lent itself well to be completely sucked into Ware's captivating delivery but with a surprising amount of bounce in her set it was a shame to be in a venue without more room to do a little dancing (bar a few brave souls who twirled up the front).
Still there was little to fault about Ware's hour-long set. Album tracks like No To Love and Taking In Water sound bigger and more expansive with a willing audience and that aforementioned live band, 110% stands up as a smartly made dance song with a melancholic air while the 80s sheen of Night Light continues to be a winner. Her cover of Brownstone's 90s R'n'B hit If You Love Me was an unexpected surprise, a faithful rendition that wouldn't have sounded out of place on her own album.
The high-point undoubtedly come in the final songs, having charmed Dublin into submission Ware deploys Wildest Moments as her penultimate number, an earnest sing-along erupting amidst the crowd. Closing with Running, Ware asks the crowd to stand up pointing out that her mum will be proud she had a seated venue on it's feet. It's a blissful moment, the goodwill and slow-burning pulse Ware has been building for sixty or so minutes reaching an exuberant climax. She warmly thanks the audience before pointing out she doesn't do encores, takes a few snaps with excitable punters and departs. An accomplished and polished performer with a beautiful voice that genuinely sounds even better in a live setting, Jessie certainly did Mama Ware very proud during her Dublin show.
Jessie Ware's debut album Devotion is out now