Eden Sessions, Eden Project
Review by Lee Trewhela
Pictures by Andy Soden / Clean Slate Music
ON THE hottest day of the year, families arrived from 10am to catch a glimpse of the golf ball-headed pop star.
They had to bask in the sun for a few hours though as she didn't arrive on site until a few minutes before her 9pm start, telling the crowd later she felt like "the king" of Eden as she surveyed the scene on driving in. She questioned the gender reversal: "Why did I say king?". It turned out her best friend and hairdresser was the one who declared she was queen, which was only fitting as she grew up in Cornwall.
Before Jessie hit the stage, a 6,500-strong crowd lapped up supports from Bristol via Cornwall's Hot D'Jour and new kid on the block A*M*E.
The Bristol duo - featuring singer Hollie G and multi-instrumentalist / producer Denzil Lowndes, who's originally from the Penzance area - were handpicked by Jessie to support after she was given a shortlist of five local acts chosen by, among others, me and Eden Sessions organiser John Empson.
They were a big hit early doors - getting the back of a huge crowd to cheer at 6.45pm is no easy thing but their catchy electro-soul songs and Hollie's charisma did the job. It's not difficult to see why they have caught the eye of Bristol players like Massive Attack and have even jammed in their own studio with Damon Albarn.
Next up was the bouncy K-Pop dance stylings of A*M*E. A short but sweet set featured the earworm catchiness of recent No 1 Need U (100%) and the equally huge Play The Game Boy. The 18-year-old, originally from Sierra Leone, is a star in the making and warmed up the crowd beautifully.
Starting your headline set with perhaps your best known song shows either confidence or stupidity. After a pitch perfect Price Tag, it was obviously the former as Jessica Cornish's (to give her her fitting birth name) set built as it went on. The last few songs even won over jaded parents like me, who may have gone to the gig somewhat reluctantly.
Though I have to admit the announcement of a genuine pop star in the usual indie/rock haven that is Eden was a thrill.
Jessie proved a likeable and, somewhat surprising, funny presence, bantering with the crowd and admitting she felt a real bond with the likes of the girl from St Austell's Niles Bakery in the front row. She even winked at my 6-year-old, from her dance vantage point on a bin at the front, making her night (and, possibly, year).
The hits came thick and fast (it's easy to forget just how many she's had in a relatively short time) - Who's Laughing Now, Nobody's Perfect, Domino, ending in the full-on dance wow of Laserlight and irresistible new single Wild.
Her voice, often criticised for its show-off warbling around the notes, was powerful and to the point, none more so than on a segue of Aerosmith's I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing and her own Who You Are.
On a balmy night in the stunning surroundings of Eden, Jessie J added to the sunshine with a faultless performance.
All three acts play again tonight (Sunday) and the whole event is being screened live on the Eden Sessions' YouTube channel.