Funk/soul act Jamiroquai made its live return in London last night (Sept. 9) where the British group premiered material from its new studio set “Rock Dust Light Star” (Mercury/Universal).
Appearing onstage within the plush confines of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Knightsbridge, the band — led by singer Jay Kay, wearing a trademark trilby hat – performed six songs from the new album, as well as a blistering opening run through 2001 single “Love Foolosphy.”
Marking the band’s first release with Mercury/Universal following six studio albums and a 2006 greatest hits collection, “High Times: 1992-2006,” with Sony/Columbia, “Rock Dust Light Star” is due for international release Nov. 1 via Universal. U.S. plans are yet to be finalized, according to a label spokesperson.
Jamiroquai has sold 25 million records to date, according to Universal. The band’s biggest selling U.K. album — 1996’s “Travelling Without Moving” – has moved 1.2 million units, according to the Official U.K. Charts Co. His previous studio album, “Dynamite,” peaked at No. 145 on the Billboard 200 in October 2005.
“We were going to have the premiere in Wolverhampton but the budget wouldn’t go that far,” joked Jay Kay (real name Jason Kay) to an audience made up of selected guests and invited media.
Highlights from the live set included the bass-led “Smoke And Mirrors,” which was reminiscent of “Off The Wall”-era Michael Jackson and “Lifeline,” a soulful pop number with a towering chorus.
Demonstrating a subtle shift in musical direction, the band also played two unnamed rock-flavored tracks from “Rock Dust Light Star,” both of which saw Jay Kay’s still strong falsetto compete with driving guitar riffs and tumbling bass lines.
Following a passionate, if not particularly gripping, performance of syrupy ballad “Blue Skies” – the forthcoming U.K. single – Jamiroquai ended its set with the hi-octane disco funk tune “White Knuckle Ride.” The track was given a limited European release earlier this year.
“I ain’t 22 no more and it’s a fucking shame,” a heavily perspiring Jay Kay told guests midway through the well-received show. “This is fucking difficult,” he went on to joke, before wrapping the set and leaving the stage to heavy applause.