Jesse Jo Stark @ The O2
When turning up early for support acts, I’ve become used to hearing loud messes of choppy barre chords and barely-audible vocals, and have rarely come away with anything memorable.
However, Jesse Jo Stark was refreshingly different. I was first struck by Jesse’s mesmerising vocals. Reminiscent of Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine, she showed off her impressive range with ease. Jesse thundered through a great selection of tracks, each one not feeling forgettable in the slightest. Her distinctive indie-pop dreamy style was entrancing. Her whole performance was drenched in sass, and she really made the stage her own.
Los Angeles-born Jesse Jo Stark has been making waves in the UK indie and alternative scenes. Jesse is yet to put out her debut album, but has received success and critical acclaim with her Dandelion EP, and singles such as ‘Wish I Was Dead’ and ‘Mystery’. Despite being born in the USA, her second biggest Spotify audience comes from London, and despite playing a support set, Jesse was not shy with the audience and had a few nice interactions with those at the front. “Does anyone here like pancakes?” was met with enthusiastic agreement from the crowd as Jesse launched into her next chorus with ‘I wanna have breakfast with Lou’. A highlight and major crowd pleaser was a brilliant cover of ‘Bette Davis Eyes’ by Kim Carnes, which Jesse absolutely did justice.
The supporting band, which I presume were a touring band, were equally impressive. They complimented Jesse’s vocals very well indeed and were incredibly tight. The drummer clearly knew his stuff, building a bridge section in the penultimate song to a dizzying climax. The lead guitar was especially great, with some great, hypnotic tones being used for some frenzied tremolo picking towards the end of the set. It was also refreshing that they didn’t take themselves as seriously as other supporting bands, taking the time to pass around a cowboy hat between the members and clearly enjoying themselves on stage.
Jesse showed support for the band she was opening for by sporting a Combat Sports long-sleeve, which is The Vaccines’ latest full-length LP. The Vaccines, by the way, were excellent too – their set drew from a now-huge back catalogue of songs met with a hundred sweaty bodies belting back the lyrics, and felt like a deserved victory lap for their latest release.