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JessB - Gig Review: JessB @ Raynham Park, Auckland

22 Sep 2019 // A review by Lou Clement
Artist JessB hit Auckland’s Raynham Park late on a Saturday night in September completing the third and final date of her New Views tour, following dates in Wellington and Christchurch. Special guests for the evening were Silva MC, Vayne and half.queen.

Spring was hurtling towards Auckland and the crowds were out in full force on a busy K’Road, the location for the studio like venue. Inside, the stage was an unassuming cage like structure draped with camo netting; the bar set up at the opposite side of the room.

I have to say this was a relentless night of great music. There was an unexpected break when the power went out, during that few minutes the crowd held fast, waiting patiently, and when JessB returned to the stage with the lights framing her, she wasn’t phased at all and the crowd had her back, focused for the pause.

I hadn’t been to see a new voice like JessB since seeing Chaii earlier in the year, and I was really excited to see her perform live. Her music had been feted in the media and everything seemed really polished on face value. Yet when I listened to JessB she sounded full of the kind of stories and drama that represented urban New Zealand in a way that went beyond what I’d heard before. To me, it felt authentic and just a little raw: she was female, original and fierce.

JessB certainly didn’t disappoint, she emerged through the back of the crowd, singing. It was a great start, giving me a feeling of her representing her fans, an equality many artists would struggle to want to embrace. half.queen was on the decks and she would have made it an amazing night on her own, but as support for the artist the mood was set by her - with only good tunes all night. You were going to have to dance, it was too difficult not to.

The crowd was decked out, dressed in their best; we had all made an effort for the promise of a rare night of new hip-hop classics flecked with dancehall and reggae. The MC'ing was on point, the crowd grooved, threw their hands in the air and let go to the music. As Jess sang Soul Free, I realised that I believed in the hype, I loved the tone of her vocals. Lyrically it’s rich and meaningful, whilst at times she reminded me of TLC.

As the beats lifted there were the hit songs of Summer in there, melodious especially with songs ballad-like So Low. Bump Bump was as expected - slick; it cracked open the crowd like a nut with its hypnotic loop. Live, JessB is even better than her recordings, in a small, intimate venue like Raynham Park I really had the chance to experience the art she is making and it’s highly recommended. Roll on festival season and the chance to see the talent that is JessB and crew again.

Photos are from JessB's Wellington show on 13 September @ Meow, courtesy of Nichole June Productions.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

About JessB

JessB made the New Zealand Hip-Hop scene take notice in 2017 when she delivered a compelling performance as the first female MC to perform on David Dallas’ Red Bull 64 Bars, and backed it up with a string of tracks that showed the newcomer was here to stay.

Now, with the release of her second EP New Views, JessB is much more than a promising talent. She’s got streams in the millions, has spins on commercial and alternative radio, and if anyone in the music industry didn’t know her before the New Zealand Music Awards last year, she changed that with a roof-raising performance of Set It Off.

Since releasing her debut EP Bloom in 2018, JessB has been expanding her world, spending time with creatives in London, Amsterdam, LA and New York, performing at Venice Biennale, in London and across Australia. She also played Splendour in the Grass in 2019.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for JessB


New Views
Year: 2019
Type: EP
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Year: 2018
Type: EP

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