Review: Jorja Smith4 February 2019
Jorja Smith stopped by Melbourne on Friday night (1/2) to play the first show of her Australian tour, a Laneway sideshow replacing her cancelled set at the Melbourne leg. Jorja understandably pulled out as a result of the festival clashing with the Grammy’s award ceremony; in which she is nominated for Best New Artist. The Grammy nom is one of many achievements Jorja Smith has had in the last year, with the clash and cancellation only highlighting the urgency some fans felt to see her trail blaze to icon status; cramming into The Forum on a chilled Friday to do just that.
Fellow Laneway act Kian was the opener, he has had his own successes recently, placing #20 in Triple J’s Hottest 100 with his track ‘Waiting’. Kian set the vibe for the night, putting on a chilled and controlled show, bringing out some hip-hop friends like Vince The Kid and Baker Boy, and most importantly making sure the crowd was ready for Jorja Smith to take the stage.
Jorja began with the opening and title track of her acclaimed debut album, ‘Lost & Found’. Accompanied by a four-piece band, Jorja didn’t need giant LED visuals and stage antics like a log of acts you would typically find at The Forum, her power house voice was enough to get the full attention of the room; the stage presence was a unique type of magic.
‘Teenage Fantasy’ was the second song of the night, the crowd was already completely captured by her pitch perfection; Jazz runs included. Everyone was screaming the chorus, tears emerged on the faces of some attendees, possibly because the reality of witnessing Jorja Smith live was setting in.
Lights were fitted above and below the stage, other than some strobing during ‘Wandering Romance’, they essentially switched colours to set the mood for each song; with added haze it was a simple but effective addition to the show.
‘Lifeboats’ was definitely a standout moment, Jorja put on a mesmerising performance before telling the crowd to “please listen” as she exited the stage and allowed her band to Freestyle with the instrumental; big shout out to Femi on drums because his solo was especially wild.
Excluding the three-song encore, Jorja finished on her 2016 breakout hit ‘Blue Lights’. It was an incredible moment to witness the crowd, in the thousands, give their utmost attention to the singer. Jorja Smith has the makings of an R&B legend, and being able to witness such excellence is truly a blessing.