Exeter, Devon UK • Jul 18, 2024 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
Home Music Undercooked Caramel: Live review of Jorja Smith @ O2 Academy Bristol

Undercooked Caramel: Live review of Jorja Smith @ O2 Academy Bristol

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Wearing a short orange robe, warmly illuminated by “Hollywood backstage” styled lamps, Jorja Smith is like the sweet, dreamy 80s nostalgia you’ve always wanted. When her record-perfect voice hits the first note of “Lost & Found”, the venue becomes her pajama party — laidback and chill, yet everybody is excited; as for herself, she’s your best friend and older sister, her gentle voice comforting you all the way.

Bristol certainly loves her. You can hear that from the people who constantly threw shade at the opening singer, “When will this warm-up girl finish?” Smith surprised the audience with the rapped freestyle “Lifeboats,” showing her abilities go beyond singing. The night finished with “Carry Me Home,” a lovely ending that soothed the crowd’s reluctance to leave.

Jorja Smith is like the sweet dreamy 80s nostalgia you’ve always wanted

However, Smith’s beautiful voice was cramped by the perfunctory, uninspired setting — the only thing that changed on the stage was the colour of lighting. Smith stands at the same spot without even moving for a whole hour and barely interacts with the audience. Her performance is professional – and that’s basically it – no big ideas were raised in the concert, and the songs turned into meaningless glitz. The venue was crowded enough to leave no doubt that O2 sold more tickets than their capacity. I didn’t get to move around and dance — or even have room to breath and enjoy the music.

Sure, there’s nothing wrong with that, since most of her fans are pleased. However, in that case, what’s the difference between a concert and average pub music? Why don’t you just play the vinyl in your bedroom? This concert didn’t give the audience any better understanding of the music; it just felt incomplete. Neither her talent as an artist or her stellar album deserves to be limited in by this clingy venue and the boring stage setting. Where are all those deeper aspects of “Lost & Found” – the social consciousness, the understanding of love, the confusion and frustration of life? This concert brought me unexpected disappointment. Smith might still be at the start of her career, but she is more than capable of presenting herself in a better way.

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