Jess King 4 Queen

Jess King
Jess King at Bus Palladium

Last night I returned to my familiar stomping ground in Pigalle to see Jess King and her band perform her original soul/rock set. Music usually speaks for itself, but many details unfold before a performance to set the tone. The Bus Palladium is a straight shot downhill from the tourist/pickpocket/pole dancing hub of the Pigalle Métro, and is great venue for DJ, electronica, and pop acts. Both lighting and sound were crisp and well managed, but when Jess takes the state, you know you are lucky to be in a relatively small club, up close. She is made for much larger venues.

Jess’s voice is soulful and traverses a tightrope between innocent clarity and a been-there/done-that confidence. The emotional content is delivered by a strong performer who moves, twists, writhes, dances, and reaches out naturally to her audience. She pens songs on keyboard and takes us on a personal journey of love and loss, finishing the set with a fresh, optimistic message. Pure love songs are the hardest to write, and Jess nailed it. Her act is polished, but sincere, and she maintains complete charge of the show’s rhythm, the band, and her admirable vulnerability. She is charming and nice and cares about her audience, and that comes through front and central. Her supporting band is comprised of accomplished musicians including French producer Alias. Kate Philips-Kaiser added depth with rich backup harmonies on a few songs. Its gorgeous when a set isn’t quite long enough, and you are left wanting to hear more from each of the musicians on stage.

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