Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1084

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Macy Gray + Jones: Shepherd's Bush Empire 4/7/17

Macy Gray: Shepherd's Bush Empire 4/7/17 @bluesandsoul.com
Macy Gray: Shepherd's Bush Empire 4/7/17 @bluesandsoul.com Macy Gray: Shepherd's Bush Empire 4/7/17 @bluesandsoul.com Macy Gray: Shepherd's Bush Empire 4/7/17 @bluesandsoul.com Macy Gray: Shepherd's Bush Empire 4/7/17 @bluesandsoul.com Jones: Shepherd's Bush Empire 4/7/17 @bluesandsoul.com Jones: Shepherd's Bush Empire 4/7/17 @bluesandsoul.com Jones: Shepherd's Bush Empire 4/7/17 @bluesandsoul.com Jones: Shepherd's Bush Empire 4/7/17 @bluesandsoul.com Macy Grey : Shepherd's Bush Empire 4/7/17 @bluesandsoul.com

There was a time at the turn of the century when you could scarcely turn on the radio without hearing Macy Gray's voice. Multi-million seller "I Try" was a massive record and her debut album, "On How Life Is", spawned hit after hit.

Eighteen years after its release Gray is still going, arguably releasing some of the best music of her career, with latest release "Stripped" showing a real artistic maturity.

She delivered a great show at Shepherd's Bush Empire two years ago, a venue which she returned to on Independence Day, this time supported by singer-songwriter Jones.

The latter appeared onstage accompanied just by a guitarist and showed why there's so much hype around her.

Her silky voice filled the room, and the audience responded well. Her track "Indulge" is a beautiful ode to forbidden love which drew a large round applause.

After she left the stage there was a lengthy wait for the main attraction, with Gray finally appearing about half an hour late.

It is rare to see audiences seated in this venue, and getting a big reaction from seated crowds can be challenging, but Gray began by trying to introduce some energy into the room.

She emerged onstage to deliver a brief acapella version of "Moment To Myself" before vanishing into the sidelines again while her band delivered a lengthy funk jam.

When the 49-year-old reappeared she launched into an impassioned "Why Didn't You Call Me?" in her distinctive voice.

She is an accomplished performer and drew from her first album before the powerful "Relating To A Psychopath" and "Sexual Revolution" demonstrated her vocal dexterity.

Her new material has a far more jazzy feel, and Gray's performance encompassed her soulful roots as well as her new direction.

It took a while to get the audience warmed up, but when audience and performer found their groove it clicked into place.

"Beauty in the World", from her latest album, proved a hit with the crowd.

It was in the encore, however, that she really hit the top gear, with her version of Radiohead's "Creep" mesmerising, before finishing on a triumphant "I Try".

The night proved to be a nice trip down memory lane, while Gray showed she is still a musical force.

PHOTOS: DAVE BURKE
Words Dave Burke

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