Nothing beats a last minute concert invite on a quiet Thursday night when you have no plans — until you find out it’s an intimate acoustic set with belter Jessie J at tiny Rockwood Music Hall on the Lower East Side. ‘Jess,’ as she’s called by her friends (as I pretend I am one), was in town on other business and wanted to play a show here. Anywhere. Rockwood was the only venue with an hour set time available. She nabbed it, God love her, and came out wearing a simple and stylish pair jeans and t-shirt that also made the whole gig casual, easy and fun.
If you ever have a chance to hear this girl in an acoustic set, go. Who needs polished production and electronic instruments when you have those pipes? Add a guitar accompanist and done. She opened with my favorite song of hers, ‘Big White Room,’ which first grabbed my ear when Jess broke through back in her ‘Price Tag’ days. Since then she’s given us three albums and a thousand haircuts, and her 12 song set only featured songs from her first and last. ‘Nobody’s Perfect,’ ‘Do It Like A Dude’ and ‘Domino’ from her debut album, and ‘Ain’t Been Done,’ ‘Bang Bang’ and ‘Sweet Talker’ off her 2014 album Sweet Talker.
Best moments hands down were ‘Who You Are,’ one of those self empowering songs about staying who you are and ‘Masterpiece,’ another self-empowerment song about living up to your potential. It all came to a point when she covered Whitney Houston’s monster smash ‘I Have Nothing.’ Jaw dropping awesomeness. It’s ironic because while Jess looked to Whitney on how to hold a note, I looked to Whitney as a source for self empowerment and confidence. Seems we’ll always run to you, Whitney. You’re missed.