Concert Review: JMSN in Vancouver at the Alexander
It’s not every day a double shot of great music comes through Vancouver. Those in attendance got to see two of R&B’s best new stars bless the Alexander. Last night, live music fans saw JMSN in Vancouver with Snoh Allegra.
Before the show, people filled the various nooks of the split-level venue. Snoh walked on to the stage and people rose to their feet to crowd around. Mid way through the first track, she told everybody to come closer. “I can’t hear you,” she said before harmonizing with a pre-recorded version of herself. With her on stage was a keyboard player/ DJ. Aalegra performed songs off her latest EP, Don’t Explain. Fans bounced to “Home.”
Marvin played an extended intro on the keys. Snoh joined him for a trimmed down build before the beat kicked in. The audience rocked to “Under The Influence.” She asked for some crowd interaction and got it. She sang “Yous” and the crowd responded with “Whys.” The bass drum on “Chaos” sounded like feet stomping. The song would fit on a James Bond soundtrack. After a short, tight set she thanked the audience and walked off. Before exiting backstage, Aalegra hung around and took photos with fans.
After a short intermission, JMSN’s band jammed the intro of It Is. The opening track shares the name with his latest project. Phones raised as a funky bass groove dominated. Next was “Power,” the set started the same way as the album. In a tattered white shirt and jacket, JMSN, born Christian Berishaj, danced like nobody was watching. He repeated “You got the power, baby.” Band members traded solos; JMSN shook a tambourine. The crowd reacted with praise to each new song once they recognized it. “Most Of All” ended with a bunch of “I miss thes” and loud cheers.
“How many of y’all got the new album?” asked Berishaj. “How many of y’all are lying?” he joked. You’re able to feel his emotion when he sings. This was especially true on “Hypnotized.” His band showed off again with back to back to back to back solos. Yuki, the bass player, slapped his four string as if it had six.
Though the Alexander wasn’t at capacity, everywhere with a decent view was occupied. Fans hung over the railings of the multi-level venue. JMSN picked up a white telecaster for “Fuck U.” The band sang back up and the song ended with full wall of music. Loud applause came after every song. Fans sang along to “Addicted.”
Throughout the night, Berishaj couldn’t give enough props to his band. “I love you guys,” he said to the crowd. He played “Do U Remember the Time” off his debut Priscilla for the day one fans in the front. He took it all the way back to the new stuff and had the whole place chanting, “Get the fuck outta here with that bullshit.” The multitalented keyboardist picked up a saxophone and blew to a slow groove. The song was far from over; it got better as it went on. The bass man took over again. Somebody needs to check him for steroids. He slapped it so hard he broke a string.
“Alright y’all, this is our last song,” said JMSN. “Noooo,” yelled the crowd. “Fuck Donald Trump,” said a couple audience members. A bunch of cameras came out for “Cruel intentions.” Everybody on stage looked like they were having the time of their lives. Berishaj hit a couple high notes and ladies screamed.
photo by Keiron Cobban (@appleton_papi)
What is it that makes JMSN so good? There’s a believability when he sings the lyrics. It’s all about the feeling. He engages an extra one of your senses. You have to close your eyes and let the music travel through your ears, directly to your soul. People hardly moved during the instrumental breakdown. Instead, they stood in awe.
The band’s talent was undeniable. JMSN shouted them out all night. Each member had a chance to showcase his talents. Finally it was JMSN’s turn to show off his guitar playing ability. The song was another extended cut that was nothing like the recorded version. The end was manic. The whole band turned it up a notch or two. Or three. No four.
“You’re the best,” said Berishaj before walking backstage. “One more song,” everybody chanted. “Why not ask for more,” I wondered.
“Y’all didn’t think I was done. It’s Friday for us so we’ll do a couple more,” said JMSN on his return. There was no guitar needed for “Love Again.” Looking past the man in front, I noticed the bassist never did replace his broken string – he finished the show with 3.
If the music wasn’t so good couples could have headed to the bathroom to jump each other’s bones. JMSN makes sexy music. He ended the encore with “Bout It.” He was able to get every single one of us to clap our hands as he danced on stage. JMSN got the crowd to make some noise for his single band members. Before leaving the stage, he high fived the front row. To end his set, he asked us to make noise for the band behind him one last time.
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