Concert Review: Jade Bird @ 9:30 Club (9/28/19)

Jade Bird live
Jade Bird performing live (Photo from FB @jadebird)

Jade Bird, thank you very much.

Jade Bird brought her incredible Americana and folk rock anthems to the 9:30 Club on Saturday, September 28th. The club was full but not quite sold out, which is a shame because Jade is a tremendous singer and it was clear she enjoyed performing for us. She’s surprisingly self-effacing (she’s British) and humble when talking about her music, but able to shout to the rafters during grand choruses of heartbreak. As my friend observed during her frequent effusive talks with the audience, she seems like a person that would be fun to chat with over high tea. She had three other musicians as her backing band.

Jade began her robust 20-song set with the earnest “Ruins”, providing us a glimpse of her distinct and powerful voice and her solid guitar skills, on a white guitar. The song — as she pointed out about many of her songs — is about heartbreak and the ups and downs of relationships. Jade is from England, but moved around a fair amount as part of her Army family (she also lived in Wales and Germany).

Later came “Side Effects”, one of my favorite songs she played, inclusive of a guitar jam session and ample hopping about the stage.

“Does Anybody Know” is ‘another sad song’, but the bright chorus amidst the introspective lyrics brought chill inducing moments. One of the highlights of the show for sure.

She’s touring for her debut self-titled album (via Glassnote Records), and she gave us all 12 songs from the album. She also threw in two new songs, two covers, and four songs from her first EP, Something American. The new album brings together the themes of cynicism, vulnerability, and fear, but Jade was often so joyful in singing and addressing the crowd, sometimes the tone and intent got overlooked.

With “17”, Jade asked her current favourite band and opener, Flyte, to join her and sing the slow burning harmonies.

“I Get No Joy” is one song that highlights her vocal range and style, which includes spoken word, rapid free flowing lyrics, and choruses belted to the sky. She can belt like no other. The audience did actually get some joy out of listening to this song.

“Lottery” is her first hit from 2017, a spirited rocker that makes me want to visit Ferdinand Street again (a street in North London that is south of the lovely Hampstead Heath and leads into Camden Market).

Her newest single “My Motto” is a sedate ballad about not letting someone stay close enough for them to hurt you again, while “Going Gone” is a fun Americana track that got the crowd clapping and moving along to the countryesque beats. This proved as another chance for Jade chant the lyrics in a free flowing manner. She ended the main set with “Love Has All Been Done Before”.

Jade came back alone for one more song and sat at the keyboard to croon softly “If I Die”, about being remembered and living a full life. ‘If I die, put me in a song, so I’ll live in your melody.’

I don’t plan on dying, but I do plan on remembering this concert and grabbing a copy of her album. This was the second time I caught her live (the first in 2018 at Rock and Roll Hotel), and hopefully won’t be the last.

The two covers she performed were Blondie’s “Call Me” and Radiohead’s “Black Star”.

Don’t miss the next time she visits DC!

Setlist
Ruins
Uh Huh
Good Woman
Side Effects
Good At It
Does Anybody Know
Black Star (Radiohead cover)
What Am I Here For
17
Anniversary
I Get No Joy
Call Me (Blondie cover)
Hold That Thought?
Lottery
My Motto
Something American
Cathedral
Going Gone
Love Has All Been Done Before

Encore
If I Die

Author: Jeremy Bailey

Writer and editor living in Washington, D.C.

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