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Jillian Jacqueline Hoxton Square Bar, London live review

The rising star performed her first-ever headline London show last night.

Jillian Jacqueline
Credit: Big Loud Records

Jillian Jacqueline made her first visit to perform in the UK during Country Music Week in 2017. She was one of the week’s surprises and she wowed Country fans with performances at The Borderline and supporting Kip Moore at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire. Jacqueline returned to the UK in March 2018 for C2C: Country to Country where she performed across the pop-up stages and on the Spotlight Stage inside The O2 Arena. Her two EPs – Side A and Side B – have become firm favourites with fans and Jacqueline has announced a series of trips over to the UK this year. Her first was supporting Kip Moore in May on his Room to Spare Acoustic Tour and while she was here she took the opportunity to perform her first-ever London headline show at Hoxton Square Bar.

Making her way onto the stage after a fantastic performance from support Lisa Wright, Jacqueline opened her 15-song set with Overdue, a song she released back in 2014. It was clear from the audience reaction that the room was packed with her most loyal fans as they sang along to every single word, of every single song. Accompanied for the majority of the set by Bryan Brown, her husband, Jacqueline held the audience in the palm of her hand all night as she told stories, talked about the meanings of her songs, popped open some champagne and at points teared up.

Having only seen Jacqueline performing short sets in the past, last night was a real opportunity to see what’s really capable of. The set list was a dream mixing selections from Side A and Side B with some older fan favourites and a few new songs too. The biting Holier Than Thou was one of the evening’s first highlights followed by the rousing Reasons, which really showcased Jacqueline’s vocal chops. Before performing Prime, a song released in 2016, Jacqueline asked the audience if they knew it and the screams in response confirmed that indeed they did.

Hate Me, which is on its way to becoming one of Jacqueline’s signature songs, sounded amazing with Jacqueline drawing the emotion from every single lyric. I got goosebumps the first time I ever heard that song, and those goosebumps returned during her performance last night. The first of the evening’s new songs was Ocean, a track about finding the love of your life, and it fit nicely into the set. The other new songs were When It Rains and Compliment, both of which showed a lot of promise and were greeted enthusiastically by the crowd. Jacqueline said she wanted to know what fans thought after the show but joked she didn’t want to know if anyone hated them.

Priorities lifted the tempo back up after the new material and a crowd sing-a-long ensued. Before God Bless This Mess, Jacqueline explained how she originally tried to give the song to another artist as she felt it was too big a message for her to carry herself. When that hadn’t worked out, she recorded it and the response she’s had to it has been huge. She prefaced the song by explaining that she always cries at some point during it and she definitely teared up last night.

The night’s final song was Tragic, one of the highlights from Side B. It got the biggest reaction of the night and it was the perfect way to end a set that was packed with fantastic songs and promising new material.

Jacqueline is back in the UK in September for The Long Road and Kip Moore’s next headline tour, and I think she’ll be pulling in even bigger crowds. She has that unique ability as a songwriter to make you feel like her songs were written for you and she’s wonderfully charming and engaging on stage. Add to that her impressive vocals and great catalogue of songs, and Jacqueline is on her way to becoming a real breakout star in the Country genre. She’s not like anyone else in the industry and I think it’s only a matter of time before everyone finds out just how special an artist she is.

Set list: 1. Overdue 2. Sugar and Salt 3. Holier Than Thou 4. Reasons 5. Prime 6. Hate Me 7. If I Were You 8. Ocean 9. Sad Girls 10. Kids These Days 11. When It Rains 12. Compliment 13. Priorities 14. God Bless This Mess 15. Tragic Performance date: 1st June 2019

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