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Pop star in the making: Emeli Sande shows off her prodigious talents

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British singer Emeli Sandé performed at House of Blues on August 9.

Three and a half stars

Emeli Sandé August 9, House of Blues

In the U.K., where her debut Our Version of Events was the top-selling album of 2012, Emeli Sandé probably couldn’t play a venue as intimate as the House of Blues anymore. Lucky for her American fans, then, that the pop-soul singer hasn’t broken nearly as big in the U.S. yet. While Sandé’s bright, ultra-catchy single “Next to Me” is all over the radio here, she’s far from being a superstar, and she seemed grateful for every bit of fan attention during her 75-minute set, constantly smiling and encouraging the crowd to sing along.

The audience mostly obliged, participating in a call-and-response during “My Kind of Love” (set to be Sandé’s next U.S. single) and singing nearly every word to set closer “Next to Me.” When Sandé slowed things down for a bare-bones version of “Suitcase,” featuring just bass and vocals, the chatter in the audience nearly drowned her out, and the show’s more delicate moments sometimes got a little lost. Still, Sandé’s stunning voice cut through potential audience apathy, and her six-member backing band matched her in both enthusiasm and musical skill. One of her back-up singers ably filled in for Labrinth on the duet “Beneath Your Beautiful,” and Sandé herself bounced back and forth between sitting at a piano and exuberantly bounding across the stage. Dressed in simple white pants and a white top, Sandé didn’t look like a would-be pop diva trying to prove something, and her performance felt entirely sincere and vibrant. At this rate, we might be seeing her in huge venues in this country soon, too.

Set list:

“Daddy”

“Heaven”

“Where I Sleep”

“Breaking the Law”

“Who Needs the World”

“Suitcase”

“My Kind of Love”

“Clown”

“Beneath Your Beautiful”

“Read All About It (Pt. III)”

“Lifted”

“Wonder”

Encore:

“Maybe”

“Next to Me”

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