‘Twas a crisp November evening in Brooklyn, New York , and amongst the stillness of the night, excitement was in the air. Aside from folks still celebrating Halloween and Dia de Los Muertos on November 2nd, excitement was in the air for me personally as I was to see one of my favorite British lady vocalists, Miss Jessie Ware.
I had seen her twice before, once at the top of the year at Highline Ballroom in NYC for MTV’s Artist To Watch showcase, and the second time in April of this year at Coachella. Both experiences were good, but not great as I was a bit disconnected from her and the music, being a bit too far from the stage for my liking. I jumped at the opportunity to attend her Brooklyn show because I wanted to get the experience of her live show that I had not yet had.
Upon arriving to the venue, Warsaw, a Polish community center/bar/BINGO hall/live music venue in the heart of Greenpoint, I was a bit perplexed; “Is she really performing here? Seems like a place where grandmas hang..”. That which had perplexed me made for one of the most unique live music experiences I ever had. My homie Ugi and I grabbed our tickets and walked inside the hall, reminiscent of the center where I attended an after-school program back in the day. The main room housed the stage, and in two little rooms to the left housed a little bistro of sorts that served pierogis and Kielbasa, and the other, a full bar. The location was charming to say the least, ran by quick talking Polish grandmas and grandpas that were about their business.
When the clock struck 9 PM (Jessie’s set time), we made our way right to the front near stage right. “Finally!”, I thought, I was close to the stage and ready to see Jessie bring it. She performed with a live band, and had an MPC near her mic stand, to live record her hooks and other sounds. The set took off with the super soulful “Who Says No To Love”, featuring Jessie’s huge vocals, followed up by a lovely rendition of Marvin Gaye’s classic, “I Want You”. Her tone set the mood for the evening, for a crowd which for the most part, was filled with couples.
She continued through tracks from her album Devotion, and her If You’re Never Gonna Move EP, including some of my favorites, “Devotion”, “Taking In Water”, “What You Won’t Do For Love”, “Wildest Moments”, “Running”, and “Sweet Talk”. Check out a clip of Jessie singing “Sweet Talk” from my Instagram page. Her performance and presence was so inviting, having quite a candid exchange with the audience. It felt like she was performing for friends, as opposed to a room full of strangers.
The show was all I had expected, especially after having heard some not so great news earlier in the day. Music does heal, and my experience at this show was a testament to that. To top off the evening, we managed to get backstage and meet the woman herself! A great moment for me that I will always remember. Check the photo below.
Photos by Andrea K. Castillo