Caro Emerald

The Dutch electro jazz artist radiated energy at
Manchester's Bridgewater Hall, 16 April

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Following the release of her successful debut album Deleted Scenes From the Cutting Room Floor and her second hit album The Shocking Miss Emerald, Caro Emerald has thrust jazz into the limelight once again with her latest EP and is currently touring.

Irit Dekel provided a perfect prologue for the Dutch singer and performed a short but sweet set list with musicians on accordion and guitar. Dekel’s tunes had folksy warmth to them and when the singer kicked off her heels she at once seemed right at home on the stage of the Bridgewater Hall. The melodies played by the band may on surface level have seemed fairly sweet and innocent but hidden throughout the performance were enchanting, complex rhythms and lyrics that gave depth to the songs. The trio finished the performance with a rendition of REM’s Shiny Happy People – a classic crowd pleaser.

Following the brief interlude it was time for Emerald to grace the stage. Surrounded by visuals of tranquil oceans and bright exotic flowers the audience was transported to Emerald Island for the evening. The jazz-pop artist oozed confidence and class as she made her appearance wearing a figure-hugging long black dress and although the singer is pregnant she radiated energy.

In interviews the singer has noted Amy Winehouse as a strong influence and, whilst Emerald incorporated her own personality into her performance, the influence was evident and sometimes superficial lyrics gave the songs a manufactured feel. But she was irresistible to watch and managed to pull back some credit by expertly delivering lines such as “treating girls like a yo-yo is a no-no of a monumental kind” from the song Tangled Up.

Emerald’s band of eight multi-talented male musicians were fun and engaging to watch and it was obvious how well the cohort worked together, frequently swapping instruments and bouncing off each other’s dynamism. The guitarist had some particularly fancy dance moves. Through their interaction with the audience it was not difficult to imagine the band in the midst of the roaring 1920s. As the performance neared its conclusion the crowd responded to an invitation to dance.

The performance overall was fun-filled and upbeat, with not a moment of time lost. Emerald’s velvet-smooth vocals and quickwitted song introductions made her an exceptional host for the evening. There is more to this woman than indulgent lyrics.

Caro Emerald plays Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall tonight and continues her tour until the end of the month

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