Sunday 28 April 2024

Jess Glynne - Pryzm, Kingston - 26th April 2024

Back in 2018, my daughter and I had been to see Jess Glynne at the BIC in Bournemouth and greatly enjoyed the show (and it was very much a show, with a large stage, string section and big screen backdrop), but Jess had been very quiet since then.

I'm not entirely sure why, but clearly, from some of her comments at Pryzm, there had been some turmoil, personal and professional, that had kept her from the limelight.

However, I was in Kingston on a Friday evening because she had finally released her third album, the eponoymous "Jess", and was playing a couple of 'album release' mini-gigs.

I first discovered this concept just a few years ago, when I was here to see Wet Leg, but they're great, as you get an album and a short gig, for a very reasonable price (£17 in this case, including the CD version).

I arrived about 7:15PM, with a predicted stage time of 8PM, but the place was already pretty full.

I decided to go down to the floor this time (I'd watched Wet Leg from near the bar, elevated above the floor and stage) and found myself mostly surrounded by young women (Being in my 60s, I did feel quite conspicuous, although there were some people closer to my age scattered around).

A fairly large group of people, 3 backing singers, 2 brass section and other band members appeared at 8PM prompt and then Jess Glynne joined them a moment or two later.

Back in 2018, she had a very 'yoof' style, jogging bottoms and crop tops, but it was a far more sophisticated looking Ms Glynne who took to the stage in a tailored red trouser suit. Frankly, she looked great.

My CD hadn't arrived before the gig, so I didn't actually know any of the songs I would hear on the night.

We had a very short track first, called Intro, which made me wonder if the setlist would be made up of abbreviated versions of songs, but it is short on the album, too.

This was followed by a couple of great tracks, I thought, "Silly Me" and "Friend of Mine", Jess' voice sounding soulful and good and ably backed up by the 3 excellent backing vocalists (Two women and a man).

Other tracks from the album followed, "Save Your Tears", "Enough", "Do You Know About Love?", "Lying" ("We all lie to ourselves sometimes", Jess said as way of introduction to this song), "Promise Me", the final track on the album, which she said was the first she wrote and where she originally imagined the album would open, but the sentiment of "Promising Love" was a great one to end the album on.

Unlike Jess, I suspect most people never listen to an album start to finish and so the flow of the songs is lost to them - For a young woman, she has a refreshingly old school take on albums and influences (recommending the audience to listen to Joni Mitchell for songs with a story) and finishing on "Easy".

The band were great, the backing singers excellent and Jess was in fine voice.

You're not going to get 'all the hits' at an album release gig, that's not the deal, but in contrast to 2018's extravaganza, this felt like an intimate, club gig (there were still quite a lot of people there!), which suited both Jess' style and the songs from the new album.

As I write this, I've been listening to the album which arrived in the post the morning after the gig and the songs sound good there, too.

Great to see and hear you back, Jess!

Intro (Jess)
Silly Me
Friend of Mine
Save Your Tears
Do You Know About Love?
Promise Me