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5th March 2018

Live Review: Jessarae

Yes, he can bring it in the recording studio, but can he perform live? Imogen Doyle reviews Jessarae at the Deaf Institute
Live Review: Jessarae
Photo: Imogen Doyle

18th February 2018, Deaf Institute

At just 22 years old, this young singer-songwriter has already opened for the likes of Sunset Sons and 5 Seconds of Summer.

This Los Angeles-raised, Canadian-born, London-based artist — who is influenced by Bon Iver, Nick Drake, and Ryan Adams — has just finished touring the UK. With nearly 1.2 million streams for his cover of ‘One Dance’ on Spotify, he’s able to really bring it when recording in a studio, but is this also the case in his live performances?

Upon arrival to the concert, it was hard to ignore the mass of young, excitable fans stood awaiting Jessarae. It’s important to note that this intimate concert was certainly an experience, with the crowd reacting to every song, conversation and pause — the atmosphere in the Deaf Institute was electric throughout both the support act and Jessarae’s set alike.

After both Danny Boyle and The Shades graced the stage, it was Jessarae’s turn to show the crowd what he was made of.

The artist really commanded the stage. However, maybe a little too much in some instances… I love a good stage kick as much as the next person, but at times it appeared as though his vocal performance suffered.

Initially, he seemed to really be focusing on increasing his stage presence — somewhat channelling his inner Mick Jagger — however, thankfully this wasn’t the case throughout.

When he went on to sing some of his slower songs, choosing to simply play his guitar and stand by his mic as opposed to jumping around the stage, that’s when his vocal abilities really shone through. Jessarae was definitely one of those artists who grew into his set.

The song which particularly stood out was ‘Milk and Honey.’ The song which appears to be influenced by the likes of The Lumineers and/or Hozier is one which simply isn’t done justice when listening through headphones.

This song live captivated his young audience and their parents alike. Starting off with a combination of drum and guitars, it effortlessly built up, complementing Jessarae’s strong vocals throughout. This type of song is one where he really seems to thrive — if he was able to make more music like this, he’d surely go from strength to strength.

All in all, as someone who is new to Jessarae’s music I could appreciate his set — more and more so as the evening went on — especially when he played some of his slower songs.

Jessarae is an artist that appears to still have some figuring out to do, but definitely has a lot of potential. It’ll be interesting to see how he comes into himself over these next couple of years.

Also, a special shout-out to The Shades, who were one of Jessarae’s support acts. Their harmonies were bang on — this young boy band successfully captivated the crowd from the get-go — singing a combination of their own songs and covers of those which have previously graced the charts, not dissimilar from a young One Direction.



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