Jess Glynne Finds Happy While Webster Hall Loses Control: Live Review

Ken grand-Pierre 

Happiness can’t be bottled, but experiencing Jess Glynne live makes for a downright delightful eardrum elixir. The ferociously fun ginger commanded the stage at New York’s legendary Webster Hall last night (Jan. 20) and kept attendees smiling, dancing, and holding hands from her epic opener all the way through the end-of-the-night coat check mob scene. 

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Glynne’s debut album I Cry When I Laugh broke the top 25 on the Billboard 200 in October. Her distinctive vocal flair and relentlessly upbeat power pop tracks easily lend themselves to dance music; remixes from Tiesto and The Chainsmokers have nabbed Glynne some serious Spotify stream cred and “Hold My Hand” snagged the eighth spot on the Dance/Mix Show Airplay and Dance/Electronic Digital Songs charts this past fall.

Not unlike EDM empress and Brit songstress Ellie Goulding, Glynne’s vocals are so much more than a thumping bass backdrop. And her modest but brassy band showcased the power and potential of their sonic boom to the sold-out Grand Ballroom.  

From a dynamite opening of “Strawberry Fields,” “Ain’t Got Far To Go,” and “Real Love,” every number had the bombast of a big finish. Though smartphones easily went in the air for “Rather Be,” the Clean Bandit collab that got Glynne her first Grammy, arms were either around current significant others or in the air, reaching out to loves of the past and future. What was so refreshing about Glynne’s 18-song set was that the music was truly the focus; fastened in a sleek warrior braid, her signature carrot-top curls could not even distract the crowd.  

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In an age where live performances are often streamed through our own phones (or the phone of the schmuck in front of us), Glynne’s sound demands to be experienced in person, eyes front, hands up. YouTube recordings of her gigs hardly do her justice, and listening to her catchy tracks (though highly recommended) is just the tip of the iceberg. Glynne is so much more than a head-turning pop star (although she’s a damn good one of those, too); her voice is both husky and anthemic, a truly rare instrument of this age. 

“Thank you for being so turnup! Your screams gimme joy," Glynne told the crowd early on in the night. “I don’t even go to the gym, so this is like WOAH!”

With lyrics like “to find your happy, gotta lose control” and “stay in this moment ‘til we see the sun go down,” resisting a Jess Glynne sing-along is fairly futile. Nevertheless, the audience took pauses to let Glynne flex those vocal chops; her cover of Amy Winehouse’s “Tears Dry On Their Own” and her Route 94 collab “My Love” were particularly effective moments. Glynne spent the latter song bathed in golden light, saying “This song is for the people who make you you.”

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The throat surgery that threatened to stop her last year sounded eons away as she poured her heart out in “Take Me Home,” a song for a friend who got her through a particularly broken heart.

“This is such a good bad day song!” a group of friends in the crowd exclaimed as the piano intro began. Glynne’s music soundtracks love in all of its extreme stages, from ecstatic beginnings to the catastrophic endings, all of which demand to be felt; her fans happily oblige.

Glynne finished the night on a high note, bookending the pleading “Take Me Home” with the triumphant “You Can Find Me,” which started the dance fest up all over again. “No Rights No Wrongs” and “Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself” followed, and cheers from the hyped up crowd brought her back out for “Right Here” and of course, “Hold My Hand.” 

“I think this is one of my favorite gigs ever,” Glynne declared less than halfway through her set.

The feeling was so mutual, Jess.

Set List:

Strawberry Fields

Ain’t Got Far To Go

Real Love

Rather Be

Love Me


Gave Me Something

It Ain’t Right

Why Me

Bad Blood

My Love

Tears Dry On Their Own (Amy Winehouse Cover)

Take Me Home

You Can Find Me

No Rights No Wrongs

Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself

Right Here 

Hold My Hand

Jess Glynne - Webster Hall / New York, N.Y. Album Review