Review: Jess Glynne, Alnwick Castle, Northumberland

As backdrops to gigs go they don't get much better than the striking Alnwick Castle.

And who better to take to the stage here than the current Queen of pop, Jess Glynne?

Jess Glynne at Alnwick Castle. Pictures by Jane Coltman.

Jess Glynne at Alnwick Castle. Pictures by Jane Coltman.

After the debacle of the last concert at the castle in 2015, in which the power failed and brought the curtain down early on Tom Jones, the pressure was on to make sure the gig went without a hitch.

This time the castle teamed up with promoter Music Plus Sport, which proved to hit the right note with the thousands of welly-wearing gig-goers who filled one of the estate's field.

It was slick stage, one bedecked with nifty lighting effects and five towering screens so even those at the back of the field could see the action - something missing from the recent Little Mix gig at Durham County Cricket Club.

It was a dazzling stage befitting of a singer whose become one of the biggest-selling UK breakthrough acts of recent years.

Jess on stage last night

Jess on stage last night

Due to her chart dominance, it's easy to forget Jess has only released one album, I Cry When I Laugh. As well as hitting the top spot itself, the album has spawned a plethora of hits, making Jess one of only two female solo artists to have five consecutive UK Number 1 songs.

They were all shoe-horned into around an hour and half set last night, which saw the hits come thick and fast.

With her trademark auburn curls in trailing plaits and the sparkliest sequinned trousers I've seen this side of the '70s, she belted out her self-penned tracks, such as Don't Be So Hard on Yourself, Right Here, and Hold My Hand, as well as Rather Be, her dance floor-filling collaboration with Clean Bandit. But it was perhaps slower track, Take Me Home, which was the standout song as the crowd sang-a-long in a bid to keep up with the star's impressive vocal range

It's testatment to her strong tracks that Glynne has managed to have such a stratospheric rise to fame. Just three years ago it would have been a case of Jess who?

Jess Glynne

Jess Glynne

And, unlike her chart peers, Glynne's lyrics are a clean affair - there's not many relationship songs which stop at holding hands these days - which made her a good fit for the family-friendly ethos of the Alnwick Castle gigs.

Live, she's not the most energetic of performers and there was little dialogue with the crowd, other than to comment on the weather, which was thankfully dry for her spell on stage after earlier showers. Instead she lets the songs speak for themselves, which she delivers with her distinctive cool, yet commanding lilt . It's a beautifully melodius timbre, one which ensured that, despite the drizzle, last night's crowd had a right royal time in their ponchos.

Fans at last night's gig

Fans at last night's gig

Jess on stage

Jess on stage