Jessica Manning releases “What If I Run” at the Icehouse


In the spirit of cultural diversity, I left US Bank Stadium where I covered a Monster Truck event, and drove to the Icehouse for Jessica Manning’s CD Release of her new album “What If I Run”. I actually had just stumbled upon the show a few hours earlier and Jessica graciously accepted our last-minute request. So needless to say, I (once again) walked into a venue knowing preciously little about the artists I was about to hear.

Opening was Jennie Lawless. She is also the front-woman of Warehouse Eyes and this was the first performance of her with her new band. Lawless uses looping to build her songs and weave complex vocal structures supported by catchy melodies. There is a bit of a space theme, and the airy sound that goes with it. “Ceremony” imagines a journey to Mars. I loved the bass line on “Special Magic” and am eager to hear more from this very promising artist.
Set List: Black Hole / Ceremony / Fear-Unrighteous Creatures / Standby / Please Don’t Change My Mind / Special Magic / The Worm

Swedish born singer Jessica Manning was raised in the Twin Cities, and had previously released several cover albums with a wide range of songs from Bonnie Raitt to Coldplay and Miley Cyrus. Last year she started a Kickstarter campaign to fund her debut album. The 10 songs on “What If I Run” push her sound from her acoustic beginnings into modern/alternative Soul.
Last night was clearly an emotional moment for Manning and many in the audience had supported her Kickstarter. There were shouts of encouragement when she confessed to feeling overwhelmed. And when she thanked her fans for coming out on since it was late at night, there came the shouted reply “No, it’s NOT” which made me laugh.
Manning and her band sounded tight and she has great stage presence. She had the crowd in her hands from the first bars of “Red Birds”. I enjoyed her music quite a bit with “Homestead” and “Somewhere Else” being my favorites. Keep an eye on this one folks, we are going to see a lot more of Jessica Manning – and that’s a good thing.
Set List: Red Birds / Stay With Me / In The Hills / I Still Wait / Skies / What If I Run / Find The One / Homestead / Wither / Somewhere Else