“‘Allo Bristol!” shouts Jessie J as she strides on stage at the Thekla, her red leather jacket matching her bright red lipstick and large red hoop ear rings, and her black fringe matched by many of her fans at this sell-out gig, postponed from last month because the heavy snow fall prevented her making it to Bristol from London.
This evening proved just why she is held in such high-esteem by taste makers on both sides of the Atlantic and why 2011 is predicted by many to be hers for the taking.
Accompanied for much of her set by an acoustic guitarist, 22-year-old former hair model Jessica Cornish showcased an astonishing vocal versatility and was the definition of swagger.
Opening track Stand Up – “Don’t think second best, be number one; strive to be happy and live to believe” – was a reggae-tinged statement of intent as she bounced around the stage, gurning for the camera phones.
For Nobody’s Perfect, the guitarist was gone to be replaced by a heavy bass backing track, Jessie continuing to move around the stage, at one moment putting her arm around the security guard stage left.
This felt like a PA at times rather than a proper gig. Nobody gave a damn, however, as Jessie J was completely mesmerising from start to finish, her electric stage presence matched by a stunning voice and a collection of brilliant pop songs.
Mamma Knows Best started like an old-fashioned show tune, a slightly bunged-up Jessie J belting it out like her life depended on it.
The guitar accompaniment was back for Who You Are, the title of her highly-anticipated album that will be released later in the year, which was a tender and emotional song about staying true to who you are, believing in yourself and turning your dreams into reality – three things that Jessie J has more than done.
Next single Price Tag – “We just want to make the world dance, forget about the price tag” – was a riposte to the bling culture coming from a singer with giant rocks on her fingers. This tune is another stonker and will be just as big as debut single Do It Like a Dude, which closed this set with an almighty bang.
At barely half-an-hour long with only six songs, this was the shortest headline set that I have ever seen. But it mattered not. This was a an absolutely captivating performance from a singer who like Lady Gaga before her has arrived as a fully-formed pop star with the world at her feet.