Man oh man oh man what a show!
Jon B is someone I’ve been listening to for years and it seems he’s got really back on his feet in the last few years and gone back to what the fans want.. So great to see such a talented artist still putting on a great show 20 years after he broke though.
He had support from Emmavie a dope London based artist that has been building her brand and following over the last few years. Working with a lot of this “new” neo soul/hip hop/rnb crowd that have been popping up in the capital over the last few years. Check out her stuff here
Emmavie gave a very lively performance, let her personality show in between songs and had a bit of a laugh with the crowd. Personally I was really impressed with the performance and liked every single song! Definitely made me check out for her stuff as pretty much everything was new to me. A friend of mine Rzexplainsall actually put me onto her music about a year ago I think and I never followed up. Big mistake!But very very impressed by herself and her AMAZING band, every time I go to the Jazz Cafe the bands are always on point and this was no different. Looking forward to hearing anything they do as a group from now on. Do yourself a favour if you see Emmavie billed to perform somewhere… GO! you won’t regret it. Let’s all hope she drops her album sooner rather than later I’m sure we heard some material off of it.
Now for the main man himself, between Emmavie and Jon B coming on stage we probably waited about 20/30 mins which looked like it was due to a technical issue. But he made it worth our wait coming out to immediately drop “Are You Still Down” and even rapped 2pac’s parts. Definitely great showmanship from a veteran RnB singer, performing hit after hit in my humble opinion. I caught bits and pieces on camera but it was quite a packed show so it was hard to get a good view.
The track list I believe was:
Are You Still Down, I Do (Whatcha Say Boo)
Pretty Girl, I Ain’t Going Out
Isn’t It Scary, Cool Relax/Ascension (Maxwell Cover)
Someone To Love, Lonely Girl, They Don’t Know
Cocoa Brown/Breaking my heart (Mint Condition Cover)
Shine, Don’t Talk
With a small set of himself on the keys, one backing singer, a drummer and bass player triggering the basic backing tracks they performed over it was a well curated performance. Some very subtle points of improvisation from Jon B on the keys added so much to every track. Every note was hit perfectly and each song was recreated in an intimate fashion really bringing everyone into it. Of course it was more for the ladies but even the guys finished hating that he was singing to their girls and they loved it too. I think its easy to forget the caliber of an artist like Jon B when he hasn’t been on the forefront for so many years but he didn’t miss a beat.
Personal highlights for me were “Cool Relax” when he flipped into a cover of Maxwell’s “Ascension” which is a classic in it’s own right. But this came from his explanation that him and producer Ali Shaheed Muhammad of ATCQ were really inspired by Maxwell in making the song. I’m sure some people were bored of hearing about 1995 by the end of the show but I loved it, real moments of history. He had a few nice words to say about Phife and partying with the whole crew at the Tunnel. I just that was dope, The Tunnel is a place of real hip history from the 90’s whether it was the amount of beefs that went down there or the classic parties.
Also Cocoa Brown into Mint Conditions “Breaking My Heart” which was just went off! One of my personal favourites RnB songs without a doubt, Jon B and the band executed it perfectly. Of course the two main songs were “They Don’t Know” and “Don’t Talk” which the whole entire crowd singing, dudes included lol.
Overall a great show and good to see a veteran really flex and show off their catalogue. Even though bearing in mind we didn’t really hear anything from the 00’s, where personally Stronger Everyday was another good Jon B album imo. I booked my tickets for this show 2 months in advance and would go to another show of his in a heartbeat. I suggest you all do the same the next time he’s here. I’m eagerly awaiting a new album after this show.
Hope you all enjoyed reading, plenty more to come over the next few weeks.
Ramblings of a Music Fan