Jade Bird at Space in Evanston, IL

British singer-songwriter Jade Bird put her emotions down on paper and brought it all to life at her intimate show at Space in Evanston.

When Emsea was asked to open for Jade Bird, she jumped at the opportunity. She got into her car and drove from Toronto with her boyfriend and family members. She was only on the stage a matter of minutes before she won over the ample-sized crowd.

Most shows at Space in Evanston are seated but this one was fully general admission standing, and it was great to see the place so full, ready for the opening act. Those who did arrive in time to catch Emsea’s set were clearly entertained by the singer-songwriter, who was a great fit for the billing. All too often these days, you’ll find people talking, especially during the opening acts. This was definitely not the case here. The entire crowd gave Emsea their full and undivided attention, and rightfully so. 

The stripped-back performance was simple yet effective. As was the set up for the whole evening, Emsea’s set consisted of her beautiful, crystal-clear voice and trusty acoustic guitar. In between songs, she would set the scene for the next one in a very down-to-earth and relatable way which ingratiated her to the crowd. 

After a very short break, it was Jade Bird’s turn to take to the stage. Again, it was just Jade on stage with her acoustic guitar, but that was all that was needed for a great night. Jade’s new music is being fueled by her recent break up from her fiancé so you’d be excused for thinking this would be more of a somber affair. It was, however, anything but somber. In fact, it was a very uplifting and relatable evening all around. 

Most people have had one of those relationships where you feel like there’s no life beyond it. Yet, once you’re finally out of it, you wonder what must you have been thinking. Jade has clearly just got out of one of those such relationships, but she’s not wallowing in self-pity. Instead, she is using the experience and the emotions and channeling them into her new music and performances. 

We’re going to go out on a limb here to say that Jade Bird has the most contagious laugh in the entire world. In between songs, she would joke about the lyrics of the next song and how it was foretelling the breakdown of her relationship. But rather than being melancholy about the loss of the relationship, she would laugh with the most infectious laugh, resulting in the rest of the venue joining in and laughing about something you typically wouldn’t. Her sense of humor is most definitely still intact, that’s for sure. 

Bird is somewhat of a vocal chameleon. One minute she can be singing softly, with such a gentle tone. The next, it’s gritty and has everyone rocking out. She opened the set with the foot-stomping “Uh huh” which had everyone singing along, fully engaged and pumped up for the set ahead. When you hear of a singer-songwriter taking to the stage without a backing band, this is not the kind of show you expect to see, but aren’t we glad we did! However, it still had that intimate feel to it, like you were seeing your friend perform. 

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About Kirstine Walton 383 Articles
Kirstine moved from the UK to Chicago in 2011, and has fallen in love with the city and its music scene. She enjoys combining her two biggest passions – music and photography. If there is a band with a guitar playing, chances are she’ll be there…camera in hand. Kirstine went to her first live concert at 7 years old, and hasn’t looked back since!