“It’s been a total pleasure.”
But the pleasure was all ours, as Jade Bird gave her Rock and Roll Hotel admirers an endearingly cheerful show on September 28th. In fact, the place was just shy of packed out. It appears many in DC enjoy Jade’s music, poppy Americana, a twinge of country, and a dab of folk thrown in.
Originally from Northumberland, England, Jade’s accent is distinct and thoroughly charming when she introduced each song or engaged in a bit of small talk. Introducing every song is a nice touch, and Jade and her backing band of three performed 17 songs, including two entertaining covers, “Walk Like an Egyptian” by The Bangles and the last song of the night, “I’ve Been Everywhere” by Johnny Cash.
The show started with the microphone not in proper working order, and Jade, ever ebullient and smiling, asked us if she could ‘do it all again in five minutes?’ We gave our blessing and the crew fixed that problem and she was singing solo the apt “What Am I Here For” in three minutes, not five.
Whatever she was here for, we were enjoying it. The band joined for the second song “Cathedral”, a hauntingly upbeat look at a necessary break-up.
A couple of songs later, Jade gave us “Side Effects” a rousing and groovy new song, and “Ruins”, a country-guitar heavy ode to another break-up, with her soothingly gravelly voice shining through. Both were among the highlights of the set.
Clearly Jade had encountered the British stereotype of being courteous, because she politely asked the chuffed crowd, ‘I don’t want anyone telling me off, so do you prefer Washington, DC or just DC?’ Once a few confirmed just DC would work splendidly now and forever, she continued to play her great songs from her first EP (from 2017), Something American, which is also a nod to the eclectic mix of musical genres she employs.
Having coalesced into ‘something’ by now, the many ‘pleased’ Americans, then witnessed “Does Anybody Know”, a deeply affecting story of loneliness.
Towards the end of the main set, Jade played her biggest hit “Lottery”, before punctuating the finale with a ‘barn burner’, “Going, Gone”, certainly the most purely country song in her repertoire.
Upon returning to hearty applause, she played the title track of her EP, before ending the smashing evening with the ‘best song’, “I’ve Been Everywhere”.
Jade was quite pleased with the reaction from the DC crowd, and one would like to believe she’ll be back to just DC, smiling and in fine form in the near future.
Pick up a copy of Something American, and get to one of her shows as soon as you can.
What Am I Here For
Good At It
Does Anybody Know
If I Die
Hold That Thought
Walk Like an Egyptian (The Bangles cover)
Love Had All Been Done Before
I’ve Been Everywhere (Johnny Cash cover)