Jessy Lanza

Jessy Lanza


Like many I suspect, my first introduction to Jessy Lanza was via her guest appearance on Caribou’s Our Love album track ‘Second Chance’. Her cooly detached vocal fitted in perfectly with Caribou’s slinky dance music, and I was smitten. Now, with two might fine solo albums under her belt, I’m finally getting to see her after a mate had been telling me ‘you really should see Jessy Lanza’ every time I went to a festival over the last few years, but somehow failing each time. Turns out I was missing a treat.

In the packed environs of the wonderfully dingy Soup Kitchen basement, Jessy comes on to the stage with just a drummer and what can only be described as a fuck load of electronic equipment. She sets up the restless synth line of ‘New Ogi’ from her latest album Oh No, letting it wander for a few minutes before she joins in with those hazy, sweet vocals. What follows for the next 15 mins or so is a masterclass in minimal RnB, Lanza singing over crisp beats and stabs of keys, ‘5785021’ and ‘Fuck Diamond’ from her debut superb album Pull My Hair Back making me shuffle my feet and bob my head like someone else is controlling them, in a trance at how effortlessly brilliant she’s being up there.

Then things change. It starts with ‘Going Somewhere’, the beats become faster, the drumming heavier, Lanza stepping out from behind her equipment to take front stage and turn the Soup Kitchen from a place where people are nodding their heads in appreciation to a night club where people are moving their whole bodies. The incredible one-two of ‘VV Violence’ and ‘Never Enough’ get the assembled crowd whooping and hollering, Lanza’s brilliant voice doing vocal gymnastics over the beats, her endearing dancing at the front of the stage encouraging people to do the same. When she’s behind her equipment programming drums and manipulating sounds, her drummer sits opposite her live drumming along, never missing a beat despite time changes and u-turns galore, it’s so impressive to watch and hear.

She plays everything you could want to hear from across her two albums, mixing the more RnB elements of her debut with the more dance orientated tunes from her second, and it works so incredibly well that when she leaves the stage after about 50 minutes it feel like we’ve been there for about 10. After the world’s shortest demand for an encore she’s back to finish with the title tack of her second album, ‘Oh No’, a final pounding send off for the adoring crowd, the sirens of the synths acting as a call to arms for people to throw theirs up and dance like nobody’s watching. After she’s finished she comes back out front to chat with punters, sign vinyl, and generally be a lovely person. After tonight I’ve gone from being a little in love to fully in love with her, and can only hope more and more people discover her and fall hook line and sinker in the same way as me.

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