Review: Jessie J at The Academy – April 7th

Review by Aidan Cuffe
Photos by Sean Smyth

Arriving around 8:15 I fully expected The Academy to be half full but on arrival the venue was absolutely rammed to capacity. The support act Encore are an RnB style act with the occasional acoustic interlude. This particularly young crowd were absolutely eating them up and calls for ‘hey’ and ‘ho’s given instant and vociferous reactions but this crowd were here to see one person made clear by the fact that the minute Encore left the stage the chants for Jessie J kicked in loud and fast.

A curtain was pushed front of the stage and every small glimpse of anyone received wild cheers as this crowd was the furthest thing from patient, the internet generation, we want everything  and we want it yesterday.

A spotlight turns on behind the curtain and the sexy figure of one Jessie J is projected like a batman signal but that damn sight sexier. If this like the bat signal was the call for their musical hero it was unduly answered as the curtain dropped revealing Jessica in a black one legged unitard with a gold sequinned bra surrounding it. Her name up in big lights at the back of stage, there’s only one star of this show as she kicks off proceedings with ‘Mamma Knows Best‘.

The crowd roaring their approval she then kicking into one of my favourites off the album ‘Abracadabra‘ which was fantastic live. Jessie then made a plea to the crowd to calm down as people were being crushed and she didn’t want to see anyone dragged out, which is a rare thing to see these days an artist concerned with the fans down the front. She then said that when she was preparing behind the curtain she was fixing her boobs and removing a wedgy thinking nobody could see and then looked up to the balcony where she could see that loads had a full view.

Next up was ‘Stand up‘ which the crowd went nuts for and then a plea from Jessie for the crowd to sing along a little quieter because the noise was bleeding back into their mics so the band couldn’t hear themselves and Jessie’s ear buds were having their own little party. She took it down a notch to the beautiful ‘Who You Are‘ which she sang with real emotion and power. It was a superb vocal and the passion she put into singing it made it look like she was almost in tears such was the power and meaning of the song to both her and the crowd.

‘L.O.V.E.’ follows that and then ‘Who’s Laughing Now‘ which judging by the passion the crowd were singing this one back it feels like bullying (which is the underlying meaning behind the song) must still be rife in Ireland. In between all this Jessie engages in some banter with the crowd, telling jokes, acting quirky and getting laughs from the crowd intentional or not. ‘Rainbow‘ gets the crowd back in full voice before Jessie who once again was engaging the crowd and searching the crowd for fans she met after soundcheck and remembering their names (fair dues) she see’s a sign that says “Jessie J can I sing with you”. Reading it back aloud saysm “Fuck it, it’s my show, yeah get him up here”.

He gets up on stage and everyone around me is talking among themselves saying “I’ll bet he’s shitting himself now, he’ll have to actually sing, this should be embarrassing/hilarious”. What proceeded then was for Darragh (we think his name was) to suprise everyone including Jessie as he sang a good portion of ‘Who You Are‘. He genuinely had a decent voice, could sing and got a huge cheer from the taken back crowd. Jessie invites him to stay on stage and be a backing dancer whilst she sang her new single ‘Nobodys Perfect’ to finish the show pre-encore.

The show finishes with the two biggest hits for Jessie to date. ‘Do It Like A Dude‘ followed by ‘Price Tag‘ to round off a largely entertaining show. These were the songs everyone came to see but for me around the middle of the show she showed glimpses of why she is BBC’s Sound of 2011. She has an impressive vocal and some of her songs really showed this off. Jessie’s personality really shines through tonight, she cares for her fans, she’s funny and quirky and seems like the kind of girl I’d love to sit down and have a pint with and she would be effortlessly entertaining.

This show was good, I will catch Jessie J again with new material and invaluable performing experience from her relentless touring which has seen her play The Academy, Trinity Ball (the tent was RAMMED to capacity) and will return to Ireland to play a set at Oxegen 2011 which will be packed to capacity (I have no doubts of that), which are the Irish dates as part of the European touring schedule.

I reckon Jessie J has the potential in coming years to become one of the biggest stars around. I can’t wait to see how the stage show evolves and the material progress’s from here. Lets remember this is her first album and first big tour. She’s selling out big venues already, will undoubtedly one of the stars of Oxegen this year and I recommend all in attendance at that catch her at Punchestown. For me I look forward to the Jessie J follow up album to see if  she can turn good into great. Her likeable personality has me rooting that she does