February 1, 2016
As Jess Glynne smiled and brought up the polished silver mike to belt out one of her pop hits Monday night, the tattooed word “Joy” was displayed to the crowd gazing at her intently. Researcher and storyteller Brené Brown (one of Houston’s greatest treasures) says, “Joy is the most vulnerable emotion.” No truer statement has ever been made, and the fiery redhead put all of herself on display as she sang very personal songs to a room of complete strangers.
Warehouse Live lists the capacity of its Studio room as 450 people. Compared to the size of the other venues where Glynne performs on a regular basis, Monday's would be considered rather intimate. This raises the question, why has Houston taken so long to grab hold of the diva? Could it be poor airplay by corporate radio, or maybe because most of the national media is just now truly starting to embrace the Brit? Dance fans in America are likely to be more familiar with her work than other casual music fans. This is a path similar to the one that led Ellie Goulding to fame, but just like her older counterpart, Glynne is so much more than the voice on a dance track.
Five singles from her debut album, I Cry When I Laugh, have reached No. 1 on the UK chart, and the redhead has been nominated for three Brit Awards — Best Female, Best Single and Best British Breakthrough. She is up against some very stiff competition for these awards (Adele, Florence Welch, Amy Winehouse, Calvin Harris, Ed Sheeran), but this only serves to solidify her place as a pop diva. (She already has a Grammy thanks to electronic instrumental group Clean Bandit, whose "Rather Be" won Best Dance Recording in 2014.) Glynne also has a philanthropic heart, as seen when she allowed “Take Me Home” to be the official single for BBC Children In Need 2015. It is certain that she will be responsible for many pop anthems to come.
The British sensation is taking on bigger slots at several of the larger UK festivals over the summer. She is on the way to superstardom in the U.S. and was listed as one of “10 New Artists you Need to Know” in Rolling Stone last October. She performed at SXSW last year and returned to the States after a successful fall tour overseas.
Monday, those who came out on a school night were in for a treat. The stage was crowded, the venue was packed and no barricade separated the fans from the band. No one should expect to see Glynne in a small venue like this again. Her popularity is growing exponentially and her management will be forced to book at larger venues simply because of demand.
All the songs were great, but a few stood out more than others because of their breakdowns or adjusted bass grooves. “Why Me” had an especially impactful break in the middle, but the grooviest song of the night was “No Rights No Wrongs.” The songstress had plenty of runs as she stretched out the evening with the final song and arguably her biggest hit, “Hold My Hand."
Glynne brought up the difference of a few songs not being on the U.S. version of her album toward the end of the show when she said, “Some of these songs aren’t on the album over here, but you seem into them.”
On how she is adjusting to the Texas weather: “The humidity is getting to my hair. It's getting bigger and bigger and bigger.”
Personal Bias: No place I’d “Rather Be."
The Crowd: Not much dancing as a whole group, but for the most part, they were all attentive and knowledgeable of her songs (from the U.S. version).
Thank you Houston for such a special show! My first time here and I won't forget it xxx— Jess Glynne (@JessGlynne) February 2, 2016
Random Notebook Dump: Fellow Houston Press music writer Nathan Smith seemed to share a moment with the diva. She was commenting on the size of the room and said, “I like this room. I can see everyone.”
Without missing a beat, from the back of the venue and in his inside voice, Mr. Smith said, “Can you see me?”
She seemingly retorted, “I can see you in the back.”
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How About the Opener? A charming lad from Australia. Conrad Sewell kept the early birds entertained with a great falsetto and witty banter between songs. He stated that Monday was his first experience in Texas and how he loved it so far because he likes barbecue, beer and football. He had the crowd eating out of his hand when he broke out a piece of “Can’t Feel My Face.”
Ain’t Got Far to Go
Gave Me Something
It Ain’t Right
Tears Dry On Their Own (Amy Winehouse cover)
Take Me Home
You Can Find Me
No Rights No Wrongs
Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself
Hold My Hand