Americana-artist Jade Bird is no stranger to performing live in front of an audience. Since the age of 16, when she won a place at The Brit School, she has been gigging around the UK. Earlier this year she performed at Green Door Store in Brighton and has now had her first ever gig at The Haunt.
The Haunt filled up quickly with an audience full of anticipation for the 21-year old singer. As she stepped on to the stage the crowd gave her a warm welcome, which she returned with a charming smile and a look that seemed slightly surprised. In only a year her audience has grown distinctly, and the gig at The Haunt made it clear why.
Bird started out with playing a haunting unrequited-love song ‘What Am I Here For?’ and immediately captured her listeners. Her voice was soft and seemed perfect, but not too perfect to mask the grit and emotion. As the song was about to finish, her band joined her on stage and straightaway dived into the catchy song ‘Cathedral’. The band, consisting of a guitarist, bassist, and drummer, played tightly throughout the evening, and it was clear that they enjoyed it just as much as the star of the show.
‘Uh, huh’, one of the newer songs from Bird was one of the highlights of the evening. As soon as the opening chord struck, the reserved and introverted crowd turned wild and started dancing and singing along. Bird’s vocals in this performance were goosebumps-worthy and her energy was infectious.
Throughout the evening, Bird introduced the crowd to many new songs from her upcoming album (which she promised would be out early next year). Most of these were energetic and cheerful, but at one point during the concert, Bird turned to her piano to play the gloomy ‘If I Die’. Her voice was piercingly beautiful and for a short while, time stood still.
During the rest of the gig, Bird gave the crowd a great excuse to dance and enjoy themselves. Especially during ‘Walk Like an Egyptian’ – a cover of The Bangles’ original song, Bird and her band appeared to let themselves go and give in to the incredible energy that the crowd expressed.
Bird’s joy of performing was evident throughout the entire gig. From talking to the audience to playing with her band, everything appeared to be natural for her. Her way of charming the audience with funny jokes(as she said; if she wasn’t a singer, she would have been a comedian) and an overall warmth coming from her chirpy personality, combined with her musical talent and gritty and profound voice, she cast a spell over The Haunt and truly revealed why she is an artist to keep an eye on.
At the end of the gig, I was left with the feeling of it being too short. Forty-five minutes felt like five and by the end of it all, I was craving more. With a new album on the way, we can only hope that Jade Bird will be on the road again sometime soon. Until then, we will just have to try to control the cravings, by keeping her songs on repeat.