It’s been almost 2 weeks since I was fortunate enough to see JMSN at Le Poisson Rouge, one of the most intimate venues in NYC. I managed to snag tickets for about $18; a steal when you factor in the amount of talent and energy JMSN brought to the stage. I’ve been a fan since he was flexing with the long Jesus hair and using the falsetto chords to croon out his lost love for †Priscilla†. Since then he’s released two major projects in JMSN (Blue Album) and most recently It Is. Being more fortunate, I also caught JMSN on tour of Blue Album at Rutgers late in 2015. That show was great, but I was a little disappointed because his smooth R&B energy was in conflict with the raging Vic Mensa, who was the main act. But something felt right this time around.
Was it the smaller more intimate venue?
Was it the receptiveness of the New York crowd?
Or was it the fact that this newest release, felt like JMSN finally settled into his own skin; almost like what 2014 Forest Hill was to J. Cole. It felt pure.
Starchild & The New Romantic
If you’ve ever been to a show or concert, then you know how nerve racking it can get for the opening act, who is usually
some no name a rising local performer. Starchild & The New Romantics was that performer. I was a little skeptical when I saw him walk on the stage with only his laptop and microphone stand. But after Starchild hit that space bar, he dismantled all my preconceived notions about opening acts. What he lacked in recognition, he made up with stage presence. Imagine the showmanship of Prince reincarnated into a beautifully awkward soul sliding across the stage, as synthesized R&B filled the room. After seven or eight songs, Starchild left the stage with a handful of new fans and successfully started off the night on a great note.
Tiffany Gouche wasted no time in taking command of the stage once it was her turn to shine. After the bass and her vocals kicked in, I was sent into one of those “eyes closed side to side” trances that takes you into an ethereal zone and the audience fades away. I was brought back down to Earth, when a random person tried to force their way to the front to get a better view, but just ended blocking me (my number one show/concert pet peeve). When the tempo slowed down and Tiffany began to caress the keys, my concert buddy perked up and let’s me know that “this song” was dedicated to her by a friend. Come to think of it, all of Tiffany’s tracks from that night could have been dedicated to someone; her music is just that intimate.
Now it was time for what everyone had been itching for all night. JMSN. Humble, but royal he began striding across the stage, donning a playboy like baby blue fur robe/jacket. The audience erupted before he could even touch the microphone and without pausing, the first notes were struck on all the live instruments. For the next hour and a half we were serenaded with live renditions from almost every song from his latest collection of tunes. In between his guitar solos, we were blessed with those patented JMSN dance moves, monologues from the albums, and witnessed a star bare the artistic flaws of his soul on stage. Even when JMSN finished his last song and thanked the audience for coming out, no one budged. Instead, chants of ENCORE, ENCORE, ENCORE pulled the exhausted, but never selfish JMSN back on stage for one final song. “I’m bout it, you’re bout it.”
All photos taken by Colin Pieters.