We Went to a Show - Jorja Smith at Theatre Corona, Montreal
Review & Photos by Colin Crawford
Tickets quickly sold out at the announcement of British R&B phenom Jorja Smith’s stop in Montreal. As the sun set on the beautiful early twentieth-century Theatre Corona, Smith's fans filled the air with electricity, their eagerness charging the atmosphere after months of waiting. After a brief set from fellow London-based up-and-comer Ama Lou, Jorja’s band took the stage. Lighting tall scented candles, the ambiance was set for the 20-year-old wunderkind. The prolonged choral interlude to Something in the Way was completely drowned out by the sustained roar of the crowd as Smith cracked a nervous smile at such a reception, diving into the set with one her most soulful and emotive cuts. This statement of an opener sunk a hook deep into the heart of each of the thousand audience members in attendance, collectively under Jorja’s spell for the next 90 minutes.
Warming up after a few tracks, Smith asked the needless permission of the audience to sing some new songs from her upcoming debut album ‘Lost & Found’ (Out June 8th via FAMM records). Showcasing slow ballads such as February 3rd, Goodbyes, and Don’t Watch Me Cry alongside impressive rhyming chops on Lifeboats and hit covers Ready or Not and No Scrubs. This setlist evidenced the emotional depth and maturity of Smith’s own songwriting as well as dynamic and energetic renditions of her favourite songs; anthems of a generation. Smith’s ascension from YouTube to this sold out North American tour through one EP and a handful of singles exemplifies the hopeful potential of youth culture to determine and support artists of their choosing. Her live show exudes a balance of humility and quiet confidence as she masters her craft from city to city.