Melanie Fiona’s High Energy Performance At London Jazz Cafe | Live Review

Melanie Fiona brought The Bridge to life on Tuesday night in a high-energy, dynamic and electrifying performance at London’s Jazz Cafe.

The night started with a stellar warm-up set by new artist Daley, whose soulful simpers sailed effortlessly over Maxwell’s “Pretty Wings” amongst his own tracks to a moderately full crowd.

When Melanie Fiona graced the stage around 30 minutes later, however, the space was packed to almost-sweatbox conditions and the crowd welcomed her with rapturous applause. The intimate surroundings served Melanie well as she explained that, while she enjoyed touring in huge arenas with Alicia Keys, “I love being able to see your faces!”

Ms Fiona cites her album The Bridge as her attempt at bridging genres together – last night her live performance served that purpose to an even greater extent. From murmurings in crowd it was evident not everyone was familiar with her album material, but Melanie drew the new audience in with musical familiarity; she used Nancy Sinatra’s “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” to intro into album-cut “Bang Bang”, performed Sam Sparrow’s “Black And Gold” and married Kanye’s “Heartless” with a bass-filled reggae dub played by her band.

“I’m a proud West Indian!” she hollered, evoking responses from crowd, before performing “Somebody Come Get Me”, a reggae buzz-track that didn’t make the album but sees her threatening to kill her man for cheating. She followed this with “Sad Songs”, which samples 1979’s “Silly Games” by UK Lover’s Rock icon Janet Kay (who, along with Tinchy Stryder, watched the show from the audience).

“She hasn’t even stopped to catch her breath,” my friend observed more than half way into the show, awed. Melanie is a real performer – from her command of the small stage, her interaction with her band and backing singers, camaraderie with the audience, dance-moves and of course, her pitch-perfect, soul-stirring voice.

What was evident is that Melanie was happy to be on stage; taking nothing for granted, she performed as if she was realising a dream every moment she was on the stage. I garner that the Canadian singer has had a serious grind to make it to her current position, one which she doesn’t document in detail but alludes to in her interviews.

While she closed the show with her most popular song, “Give It To Me Right” after an encore, it was “Ay Yo” that resonated most with me. She dedicated it, her penultimate track and ‘triumph tune’, to the dreamers in the crowd, encouraging the crowd to chase their dreams.

I get the feeling that, if this show is anything to go by, she’ll be around on the scene pushing, dreaming and performing for a while yet.

–Tahirah Edwards Byfield

Photography by Neil Raja & Samit Tailor

Privacy Preference Center