While the next studio album is still in development, Caro Emerald’s latest live tour rolled into Milton Keynes looking to deliver a fun evening of jazzy grooves.
This is a return to the venue for the Dutch singer, whose played the venue last year. Indeed, its part of a long return tour of the UK for Emerald, whose previous albums have proven to be UK hits with a platinum-certified debut and number one follow-up.
The tour schedule will later feature the singer’s 100th UK show at the Jazz Café in London, plus a further London concert at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall, and all part of a busy autumn that includes a show at the AFAS Live venue in Amsterdam.
A few nights into the UK tour, and Emerald’s roadshow sees the singer and her 7-piece backing band roll into the Milton Keynes Theatre. But before Emerald performed, recently signed songwriter Loren Nine provided a very able support slot. The set comprised of just the performer with a piano, but got the crowd engaged with a nimble of set of piano heartbreakers, and even the odd pithy one-liner in banter with the crowd. Late in the set number Cherry Stains was a particular delight.
After the changeover, Emerald’s set sees its mood set rather nicely by concert opener Riviera Life, as Caro and the band enter the stage and perform the song’s lush tropical-inspired grooves accompanied by 50s and 60s-style film poster videos on the back.
The show begins off a delightful proposition, with the instrument-swapping band providing a fine backdrop for Emerald to bring plenty of impressive tongue-twisting vocals, which tell impressive tales over the top of the lyrics. The sprightly Tangled Up, which is dispatched early on, is a particularly delightful number, while Tahitian Skies brings an almost other-worldly quality to the usual sound.
There are plenty of variations on display, with solid jazz grooves and tracks that show a Latin inspiration. One notable example of this is My 2 Cents is a wiry delight with added Cuban guitar. Indeed, such versatility shows off nicely the work of the band in chopping and changing through the various styles across various instruments. The song’s outro with duelling brass and percussion is also delightful.
In and amidst this, there’s also a lovely subtle moment when just Caro’s voice and a sole electric guitar are deployed for a solitary song, providing a refreshing and pleasantly sparse interlude. It also careers very nicely into a following up-tempo jazz break instrumental, and as it is noted the bulk of the crowd has been yet to truly embrace the use of their dancing shoes, the main set wraps up wraps up with some up-tempo tunes that get the crowd moving along nicely.
The punchy, groovy delights of Excuse My French and new track Wake Up Romeo are pleasant delights that begin to coerce people out of their seats. This is before an impressively worked take on Havana holds up the attention nicely, before the one-two punch of Liquid Lunch and That Man brings the curtain down on the main set in style. With impressive jazzy hooks and grooves, its a pairing that brings the crowds to their feet and dancing at the top of a hat. Furthermore, it also helps that its a top notch pair of tracks.
An encore of tracks from the debut album then round things off, with the sprightly A Night Like This – and accompanying singalongs – making for a delightful conclusion to the evening’s entertainment.
All in all, the Caro Emerald live experience in 2018 adds up to a delightful time. With plenty of delightful jazzy grooves, additional Latin-inspired tracks, and fine performances from all involved, the show is certainly a very delightful evening that adds up to a rather delightful evening, and one certainly worth catching.